Mighty warriors open new sports pitch

Students with disabilities have opened a new shop in Arundel Street in Portsmouth City Centre called The Gallery

Students turn shopkeepers at new Portsmouth store

Have your say

NOT even Wayne Rooney going for a header could jump as high as they do.

Maasai Warriors showed off their supreme athleticism as they helped open a state-of-the-art sports facility at South Downs College in Waterlooville.

Maasai Warriors at the opening of the new South Downs College all weather pitch.''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (123418-12)

Maasai Warriors at the opening of the new South Downs College all weather pitch.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (123418-12)

All eyes were on the warriors as they performed to the crowd – chanting, dancing and leaping off the ground.

The facility, which is floodlit and has artificial grass, has been paid for by a £600,000 grant after years of campaigning by staff at the college for a dedicated sports pitch.

Until now, students have had to travel to other local schools for sports.

The Maasai warriors, who hail from Olenepos in Kenya, were clearly impressed.

Richard Minisa, 34, said: ‘It’s really good.

‘We thought it was grass but it’s actually carpet.

‘Where we live it’s very rocky, and in order for young children to play, we would really like something like this.’

The Maasai warriors are currently touring schools in the UK as they fundraise to kit out a six-classroom primary school they built.

Money from selling their hand-made jewellery helps to sponsor orphans to go to school and provide clean water for children.

Joining the proceedings yesterday was the Mayor of Havant borough, Gerald Shimbart, who cut the ribbon to officially open the pitch.

More than 500 college students, as well as over 400 young people from local sports teams, will use the facility every week.

Yvonne Elliott, head of department for sport and public services, said: ‘I am so excited about today.

‘This has been a mission of mine for years.

‘I have been here full-time since 1983 so this is a magical day for me.’

John Manterfield, deputy principal, added: ‘None of this would be possible without the vision, enthusiasm and hard work of key college staff.’

Footballer Joe Noakes, 18, of Old Rectory Road, Farlington, who is studying for a sport diploma, said: ‘It’s really good. It means you can train every day no matter what the weather.’

Danny Brown, 17, of Fir Copse Road, Purbrook, added: ‘It’s a great opportunity for everyone involved in sport at the college – not only football, but all sports.’