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UK Athletics

Former SPAR Sprints Scholar visits Kings Norton Girls School

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Martyn Rooney signing

British Junior 400m record holder Martyn Rooney had a very warm welcome when he visited Kings Norton Girls School in Birmingham to deliver a SPAR Sprints Masterclass on Thursday 18 January.


Twenty girls in year 7 were chosen by their PE teacher to take part in the SPAR Sprints masterclass won by the school, the girls all played a part in the school’s recent success at the South Birmingham Sportshall athletics competition, where the team finished second.


Kings Norton Girls School is now a designated Sports College and is part of the Baverstock School Sports Partnership, Rooney himself benefited from the support and encouragement he received at the Sports College he attended in Croydon. He said: “When I was at school, I did everything and just enjoyed all sport. But athletics really appealed to me and I found that I was good at it. I remember winning my first medal when I was about 12 years old.


Rooney added: “


“If I can get kids excited about athletics then that’s the main thing – and the pupils here are certainly enthusiastic. It’s important for younger athletes to realise that anything is possible – with dedication and hard work.”


“I took part in the SPAR Sprints Initiative myself and it really does help the younger athletes to progress. When I first got invited to take part in their training sessions I felt really privileged, as it’s a great opportunity to work with some great people - elite coaches like Tony Lester and Mike McFarlane.”


 “The main aim this year that my coach (Nick Dakin) and I are working towards is to get to the World Championships in Osaka, and of course I’ve got my own personal aims too – I’d like to make the final of the World Championships, and to make the top eight in the world would be amazing.”


Shannon Carter, aged 10 said afterwards: “When Martyn came into the gym we gave him such a big cheer! We were really excited to see him; it was good to be able to ask him some questions. I hope he can come back to our school again!”


The SPAR Sprints masterclass was arranged as part of SPAR’s sponsorship of UK Athletics, giving each winning school the chance to meet a top Great Britain & Northern Ireland athlete.