Pupils impressed by medal-winner’s visit
YOUNGSTERS at Ullesthorpe Primary School were visited by a medal-winning Paralympian who faced a series of tough questions last Thursday.
Stephen Cooper (40), who is originally from Ullesthorpe but now lives in Rugby, visited pupils to tell them about his experiences during the Paralympic Games in 2000 in Sydney and four years later in Athens.
The pupils were especially excited to see the two medals Stephen won at the Sydney games, his bronze from the 800 metre race and silver from the 4x100 metre relay event.
He also showed pupils a video of his performance in the 4x100 event, explaining that he narrowly averted disaster in the race when he fell over and tumbled to the track a split second after handing over the baton to the next runner.
Stephen’s dad Brian Cooper, who was also at the school, said the family had faced a nervous wait until the end of the race because they were not sure if the team would be disqualified because of Stephen’s tumble.
Stephen said: “I was happy to come along and speak to the pupils about my experiences.”
He told the group that he did not start competing in athletics seriously until he was about 28 and was soon picked for the Paralympic squad for Sydney.
He added: “I was a specialist middle distance runner but I also competed in the relay.
“I think the silver medal in the relay is the one I am proudest of because it was a team event.”
After speaking to the pupils, Stephen faced a grilling from them about how he had prepared for the events and which were his favourites.
Stephen also told the group that he began training when at university in Sheffield, and remembered Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis training as a junior athlete.
He added: “I am hoping one day to have my own stable of athletes because I do a little bit of coaching.
“I’m a life member of the City of Sheffield Athletics Club and I still do some training with an athletics club in Nottingham.
“I still keep in touch with some of the athletes I competed with in Sydney and Athens.”
He told pupils that his next ambitions are to run a full marathon, which he is hoping to complete next year, and an Ironman triathlon at some point in the future.
4 Lutterworth-area athlete Lucy Hall is competing at a forthcoming triathlon event in London.
Lucy Hall (20), who was part of the Team GB triathlon squad at the London Olympics, where she finished in 33rd position, will be racing at the Virgin Active London Triathlon on Sunday, September 23.
The race takes place around the xCel Centre in London’s Docklands.
For more information about the event, visit www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
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