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Pickering holds Masterclass

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Craig Pickering runs Spar Sprints
Pickering with pupils from Lyneham Primary



28 November 2008



One of Britain’s finest sprinters and Bath University student Craig Pickering, returned to his roots on Wednesday to put twenty four Lyneham Primary School pupils through their paces in a SPAR Sprints Masterclass.


Pickering, a European Junior 100m gold medallist in 2005 and World Championships 4 X 100 bronze medallist in Osaka last year, put the budding Chippenham athletes through a fun session including warm ups, sprint drills, relay games, finishing off with a lively Q & A and autograph session.


The Q & A element proved a fantastic insight for the young athletes into the life of an Olympic sprinter.  Pickering, who was a member of TeamGB in Beijing spoke with excitement about his Olympic experiences saying:


“The Olympics was a huge experience for me. The main lesson that I took away was how much you need to raise your game at an Olympics.  It is so different to any of the other Championships I've ever been to. The best sprinters in the world were running faster times every round so there were no easy qualifying rounds.”


Following on from his first Olympic experience, Pickering spoke about being fully focused on preparing for London 2012.


“London is obviously a big goal for every British athlete including myself but I’m trying to concentrate on taking it one year at a time across both the indoor and outdoor seasons.


The indoor season is particularly important for me not only does it break up the winter training schedule but I also seem to compete well indoors.”


With the European Indoor Championships in Turin this March Pickering will be keen to put in a strong performance backing up the silver medal he achieved at the 2007 European Indoor silver medal in Birmingham. 


“I would love to win the Europeans next year. The competition is going to be really strong, especially from my British team mates.  Last year we all pushed each other hard which can only be good for all of us as well as the sport.”


Away from his high profile sprinting lifestyle Pickering took time to discuss the benefits for the UK’s junior sprints starts on the back of being involved with the SPAR sprints programme.


“The SPAR Sprints Initiative has made a real impact on the progression of some of our junior sprinters coming through.  You only need to look at Martyn Rooney who only recently graduated from the programme who was fifth this year in his Olympic final.”


Lyneham Primary School benefitted from this Masterclass as a result of year 3 pupil, Jade Hadley winning a national promotion ran by SPAR. Jade was clearly thrilled to have won the competition saying;


“It was amazing to meet a GB athlete. I loved the running and relays we did. I remember watching the Olympics, it was so exciting and it was great for him to come to my school.”


SPAR Sprints Masterclasses are part of the SPAR Sprints Initiative, set up in 2004, to nurture and develop talented young athletes.  This national initiative brings recognised UK sprinters to their local schools with the aim to inspire and encourage young athletes to follow in their footsteps.