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Iwan Thomas and Spike

30 April 2012

Pupils at Stanley Primary School in Teddington were recognised for their sporting excellence by a famous face on Tuesday as Iwan Thomas, former World, Commonwealth and European Champion as well as Olympic silver medallist, presented them with School Sport Magazine’s Primary School of the Year award on a day of activities supported by the Aviva Athletics Academy.

Former 400m runner Thomas gave an inspirational talk to the school’s pupils before presenting the award to Head of PE, James Watson, after an outstanding performance from the school’s pupils across a variety of sports in 2011. Thomas afterwards spoke of how impressed he was with the athletic skill and outstanding support for athletics from teachers on display at the school.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my day with the kids at Stanley Primary School and saw some real stand-out performances from the youngsters.  I think schools like this show that athletics is in a good place at the moment and can only be enhanced by deploying the Aviva Athletics Academy to support great teachers working with enthusiastic young children in every school.”

In his role as Aviva Athletics Academy ambassador – a series of 6 programmes (including a curriculum resource and children’s awards) which provide resources for teachers to encourage athletics participation in schools – Thomas spent the day promoting how fun and easy athletics is to learn as a child and encouraged every pupil at the school to run, jump and throw. He spoke about how important his primary school teacher was in his development as a sportsman.

“For me, I was just lucky to have a die-hard sports teacher pushing me in the right direction. There weren’t really initiatives in place to encourage athletics so I think the Academy is fantastic and it not only gives the opportunity to encourage the kids, but also encourage the P.E. teachers to give lessons on the sport and be enthusiastic about it. I look forward to seeing the next batch of Olympic stars developed through the Academy programme at the Stanley Primary School.”

Thomas’ day began with a Q&A session with the entire school. The school’s 7-11 year olds were treated to footage of some of the defining moments in Thomas’ athletics career as well as the former track star’s words of wisdom on what it took to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

Thomas also took time to sit down with Stanley Primary School staff to understand the issues that they face in implementing athletics in school as well as how they see the importance of the sport for the young child.

The 38-year-old finished off a busy day with students in an Aviva Elevating Athletics session – where the staff employed the curriculum resource designed to help bring athletics to life and make it easily accessible to young athletes. The lessons introduced each child to the principles of running, jumping and throwing.

Every student that took part in the athletics festivities on the day was awarded a specially signed certificate confirming that they had progressed in the Aviva Athletics Awards programme.

James Watson, Head of P.E. at the Stanley Primary School, was delighted to host Thomas and spoke of the motivation that he provided the pupils.

He said: “Meeting Iwan was a fantastic experience that our pupils will never forget. He delivered a captivating and inspirational assembly as well as a very honest and insightful Q&A session. It was a wonderful opportunity for the school to work with the Aviva Athletics Academy and showcase how brilliant and inclusive their scheme of work is and how it is developing our very talented athletes. It is these resources offered by the Academy that make athletics so popular at Stanley.”