YOUNGSTERS were inspired to stay fit by a pulse-raising visit from a top British athlete.
Sprinter Luke Lennon-Ford took time yesterday afternoon to meet pupils at Hart Plain Infant School in Waterlooville.
The sportsman – who specialises in 400m and is coached by legend Linford Christie – got schoolchildren involved in a 45-minute fitness drill, before staging a questions and answers session.
Six-year-old Amy Hayles said she enjoyed the event and Mr Lennon-Ford’s routine, with her eyes already set on a future in sport.
The Year 2 pupil said: ‘I enjoyed the spotty dog, it is really fun as it is like running. I like running.
‘It’s healthy and I would like to be an athlete when I grow up.’
Poppy Phillpot, seven, said: ‘It was fun with the star jumps – I like keeping healthy.’
Other pupils said the visit helped them understand the importance of staying active – even at a young age.
Seven-year-old Logan Kramer, also in Year 2, said: ‘It’s good to be healthy so that your heart beats faster and you keep fit.’
Lake Smith, six, who is in Year 2 added: ‘It’s good to do exercise because it gives you energy and when you practice you get better like Luke.’
Mr Lennon-Ford enjoyed success at the 2011 under-23 European Athletics Championships, when he won bronze medals in the 400m sprint and gold in the 4x100m relay.
Currently in training for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, he said getting exercise from a young age is as crucial today as it has ever been.
The 28-year-old said: ‘It is very important for children to get involved in sport to keep them fit and healthy, especially with problems today with obesity.
‘It is very important to get them in the great outdoors in the fresh air to encourage a healthy and fit lifestyle.’
Reflecting on the afternoon’s session, Hart Plain Infant School headteacher Ruth Kenny said: ‘It has been wonderful having Luke Lennon-Ford with us today.
‘The children had a fantastic time and we would like to give Sports for Schools a very big thank you for giving us the opportunity to join in.’
Throughout his one-and-a-half-hour visit, Mr Lennon-Ford ‘inspired’ pupils, Ms Kenny said.
She added: ‘With hard work and dedication you can become a role model in any field.
‘Luke inspired the children and has given them the confidence to have a go.’