Olympic spirit is alive and kicking

112502-2078 BEACH OLYMPICS (SPORT) MRW 14/7/2011''// all pix re: Portsmouth Beach Olympics with 9 Primary Schools from around the city taking part in an activities day on Southsea Common organised by Grant Morris - MRW // ''After an early morning briefing children head towards their first event of the day ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112502-2078)
112502-2078 BEACH OLYMPICS (SPORT) MRW 14/7/2011''// all pix re: Portsmouth Beach Olympics with 9 Primary Schools from around the city taking part in an activities day on Southsea Common organised by Grant Morris - MRW // ''After an early morning briefing children head towards their first event of the day ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112502-2078)
The start of the Gosport Half Marathon race as James Baker, wearing 85, hits the front early on. Picture: Neil Marshall

Baker’s perfect timing with Gosport triumph

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Langstone Junior were crowned champions of Portsmouth’s first-ever Beach Olympics.

The trophy was awarded to the school for their overall effort during the competition and for their investigative coursework into their chosen country, Russia.

The event took place on Southsea Common, which saw sports such as volleyball, tennis, and even extreme golf contested by nine of the city’s junior schools.

Schools sport co-ordinator and Havant RFC player Grant Morris, below, was delighted with the running of the day and how enthusiastic the kids were when it came to combining sport with learning.

‘I’m shattered but the day was an absolute triumph,’ he said.

‘Everyone’s projects were amazing and they worked really hard.’

During the presentations, judges were impressed by Langstone Junior’s passport of facts for their designated country.

These went alongside banners depicting the Russian flag, highlighting everyone’s involvement within the project.

Pupils from Wimborne Junior, St Judes, Northern Parade, Langstone Junior, Meon Junior, Medina Junior, Solent Junior, Stamshaw Junior and Highbury Junior all took part.

Thirty pupils from each school’s year-five age group were selected to represent their school and a nation.

Weeks before the competition, pupils had to investigate their country’s culture, national anthem, population and the national sport.

The school then had to create five of their own questions to answer.

One of the day’s events was entirely managed by secondary school pupils training for their junior leaders’ award – a number of year 10 pupils volunteering from the City of Portsmouth Boys’ School.

The event used a number of small games to encourage teamwork, including the human knot, a hula hoop game and the under-and-over game.

Pupil Craig Willis was one of 20 volunteering.

He said: ‘Our event was about team building, activities to help build teamwork and to improve communication, which they had to do to succeed in the game.

‘It went quite smoothly and the day went along nicely.’

Morris couldn’t praise the boys’ efforts enough.

He said: ‘They were absolutely outstanding – a credit to the school and a credit to the city.

‘I didn’t hear one single complaint from any of the external agencies or anyone else.

‘Some are the type of boys who can sometimes get distracted in school but don’t receive the credit when they do deserve it.

‘I’m absolutely chuffed to bits with what they’ve done.’

Portsmouth Volleyball Club, Southsea Tennis Club and the Portsmouth School Sport Partnership also took responsibility for administering events, with volleyball proving to be one of the day’s most popular activities.

Morris said: ‘I’ve heard volleyball went down well and was really well received.

‘It’s something different, playing on sand, something seen on television but not necessarily done before.’