The strength and skill of Paralympians was brought into sharp focus for youngsters who took part in a game of sit-down volleyball.
Pupils from Highbury Primary, Medina Primary and Langstone Juniors stepped into the shoes of disabled athletes at the launch event of the Active Kids campaign to inspire children to try sport at Sainsbury’s, Farlington.
After taking part in a sports quiz – which ended in a draw as teams from all three schools scored 19 points each – the Year 5 boys and girls enjoyed a game of volleyball refereed by Pompey legend Linvoy Primus.
Medina pupil Robyn Slade, nine, admits the experience has compelled her to tune in to the Paralympics this summer.
She says: ‘I had so much fun but the highlight for me was definitely the volleyball.
‘It was really hard work, as we couldn’t get up and run after a ball – instead we were sitting on the floor and shuffling around on our bottoms.
‘The experience made me realise some people have real physical difficulties and we shouldn’t take our health for granted.
‘We all need to exercise and stay fit and healthy, or we’ll get chubby and fall ill.’
George Burgess, 10, also from Medina, says: ‘I was so pleased to be a part of the launch and meeting Linvoy was brilliant, a dream come true as he inspired me to take up football.
‘The sit-down volleyball was the biggest challenge as it was hard to move around, but I now have so much respect for the Paralympians!
‘I’m really looking forward to watching both the Olympics and the Paralympics this year.’
The emphasis of the day was on the Paralympics, which Sainsbury’s is sponsoring.
Lesley Powell from the store explains: ‘This is an ideal opportunity to showcase and get involved in a sport not usually played in schools.’
Phil Bridgwater, store manager, adds: ‘2012 is going to be a year like no other and the Paralympics are just one part of the celebration.
‘This was a great opportunity to let our customers share in the local community involvement that happens at store level.
‘The children from the schools were fantastic and didn’t give any shots away.
‘Well done to them all. We are hoping to do this again in the future, so watch this space.’