Bristol & West AC, Avon Athletics Network & City Academy Work Together for Success at Festival: Report by Tim Snowdon

As part of the National School Sports Week, Bristol&WestAC and the Avon Athletics Network joined with the Teaching Staff of City Academy in central Bristol and the local School Sports Partnership to provide two days of athletics coaching to over 300 local children from three local Primary Schools (Bannerman Road, St Nicholas of Pontine, and St Werburgh’s) and the Secondary schools Briarwood Special School, City Academy and St Mary Redcliffe and Temple.

Using the massive City Academy SportsHall, adapted indoor apparatus, and Bristol club coaches, the children were given quick taster sessions across the range of athletic events; Hammer, High Jump, Hurdles, Javelin, Long Jump, Pole Vault, Shot, and Sprints. As was expected there was a great pool of local talent on show amongst the pupils of all ages, and the “buzz” during the sessions was both exhilarating and exhausting! Not only were the pupils keen to come back and do more athletics, “When can we do this again?” was a frequent comment, but the comments from their staff were equally enthusiastic and also looked at the wider effects of sport; one of the most affecting (about a 9 year old boy) was “That is the first time I have seen “X” smile for weeks, he has been really withdrawn but today he is back to his old self”.

With Bristol&West AC leading a Startrack Athletics Camp in Bristol (further information at City Academy Reception: 0117 9413800) for youngsters at the end of July, moving much of their training to the new athletics track at Whitehall/Packers in September, and basing their winter indoor training at City Academy (just 800m from the track), including the formation of a new Junior Athletics Academy, these two days will have laid some strong foundations for athletics development in central Bristol, linking the club, the Schools, the local Community groups, and the University of Bristol (who are also looking for their students to become involved in these training facilities both as athletes and coaches).

As ever, lots of organisation goes on behind the scenes, and huge thanks are due to Cy Knibb and his team of Bristol&WestAC coaches (Joy Bray, Dave Bedwell, Keith Brackstone, Ken Holmes, Andrea Lock, Hilary Nash, Christian North, Mike Strange, Dave Taylor, Dave Turner), Paul Skipp and the staff of City Academy, the teaching staff from the other schools involved, and Heather Beech and the local SSP group.

Anyone interested in knowing more about Bristol&WestAC should see their website www.bristolandwestac.org

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