Olympic athlete inspires pupils at Havant school

Riders Schools in Havant had Olympian Mark Richardson visit, he won a Silver medal in 1996 as part of the 4 X 100m relay. Pictured with pupils L-R Amal Altahaineh 7 and Dylan Melacrinis 5 holding his specially made running shoes. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (123317-1)
Riders Schools in Havant had Olympian Mark Richardson visit, he won a Silver medal in 1996 as part of the 4 X 100m relay. Pictured with pupils L-R Amal Altahaineh 7 and Dylan Melacrinis 5 holding his specially made running shoes. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (123317-1)
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HE’S an Olympic silver and bronze medallist who has competed alongside athletes such as Roger Black and Iwan Thomas.

And 400m runner Mark Richardson used his experience in a bid to inspire the next generation of athletes to go for gold at a school in Havant.

The Be the Best You Can Be project is designed to help young people to discover and develop their potential.

It has been developed as an educational legacy going beyond sport and beyond London 2012 to inspire young people.

Mark visited Riders Junior School and spoke about his success to launch the project yesterday.

He won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 as part of the 400m relay team.

He said: ‘It’s helping them to set inspirational goals and thinking about what they want to achieve for the future.

‘I love visiting schools, I find it so uplifting. It’s about the dream. That’s such an important thing to give young people with that sense of hope and personal belief.

‘They have been so enthusiastic and they have been asking questions.’

Pupil Harrison Skull, 10, said: ‘I thought it was inspirational because he made us believe in ourselves a lot more than we have done before.

‘He said never give up and always give it a try.

‘We have enjoyed it. We thought it was inspirational because he’s someone who was in the Olympics. He had lots of injuries and he didn’t give up.’

Olivia Scott, 10, added: ‘It was really good.

‘He had a couple of videos to show us and he did a couple of speeches and he showed us his medals.’

Children at the school are being asked to think about what their dream is and how they can achieve it.

At the end of the school year they will have a celebration and medals will be handed out to children to mark the end of the project.

Deputy headteacher Sue Holdway said: ‘We just want children to pick something up from this and think ‘I can do something and I can make a difference and I can achieve’.

‘Especially with the area that we are in, sometimes children don’t have those aspirations.’