Sporting champion opens sports hall

Calum GilesBitterne Park schools are holding an Orienteering Festival on Thursday March 23, from 12 — 3 pm at the secondary school’s new sports hall. It will be officially opened on the same day by sporting champion Calum Giles (pictured), who has competed for the England hockey team at several Olympics.

He will take 120 primary school children for a warm up, before they start the orienteering event, and will give them a motivational speech about participating in PE and school sport. The visit has been organised in association with Sporting Champions, a Sport England initiative which brings world class athletes into schools and local communities to inspire and motivate young people to take part in sport.

The Bitterne Park sports hall has in fact been up and running since September, and is already well used by the school, and by the local community in the evenings.

The event is also part of a fortnight of sports festivals, celebrating the fact that all schools, including special schools, within Southampton are now part of Southampton School Sport Partnership. The partnership wants to make sure that all young people, whatever their circumstances or ability, take part in and enjoy PE and sport.

The Bitterne Park family of schools chose to focus on orienteering for their festival as it’s been identified as an area that needs to be developed across city: it’s seen as a challenging, rewarding and educational activity for children across all key stages, and realises one of the key priorities — to develop their physical skills. Teachers are keen to learn more from specialist coaches, and the aim is that orienteering will be encouraged as an out-of-school activity as well.

Bitterne Park’s recently appointed community sports coach is a member of Southampton Orienteering Club and will be encouraging and supporting links between schools and the local orienteering club.

The National Junior Championships are also scheduled to be held in Southampton during 2006 and it’s the vision of organisers to have some Southampton children participating in the event.

A balloon race will conclude the day, when a balloon representing each school in the partnership will be released.  The school whose balloon travels the furthest will receive PE equipment.

Please note that the event is being held for the Bitterne Park schools, and is not open to the public.

Photo: Calum Giles. Š Courtesy of Sporting Champions and Action Images

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