Olympic athlete meet and greet for Barry schoolchildren
BARRY schoolchildren were given the chance to meet Trinidad and Tobago athletes as they prepared for the Olympic Games.
St Helen's Roman Catholic junior school greeted the aspiring athletes as they checked into the Vale Resort hotel in Hensol, before Ysgol Bro Morgannwg pupils were given the chance to watch the Olympic stars train and ask them questions at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday (July 17).
Pupils were also given the chance to meet Penarth sporting hero Brett Morse, who will be competing in the discus at the London 2012 Games.
Athletes from tew Zealand and Botswana also attended the training session at the stadium, in Leckwith.
The event was held as many countries arrived in the UK ahead of the Olympics, which kick off with football at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on July 25.
The 60-strong Trinidad and Tobago team are one of 21 countries that the Welsh Government has attracted to Wales for their pre-Games training camps. With the 2014 Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, a conscious effort was made to target Commonwealth countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago, with the intention of developing long-term relationships.
When the Trinidad and Tobago team arrived at the hotel they were welcomed with singing, dancing, banners and good luck cards from St Helen's Roman Catholic junior school pupils.
Teacher Rebecca Benson said: "The children were really looking forward to this chance to meet the team and wish them all well for London 2012.
"During the last year we have worked on a wide range of Olympic and Paralympic themed activities in school, and we chose to focus on the Trinidad and Tobago team for a project so this is a fantastic way to round off our year."
Ayanna Alexander, who will be competing in the womenÕ' triple jump for Trinidad and Tobago, was impressed by the welcome from the youngsters at their hotel.
"They were amazing," she said.
"They sang for us, they danced and they made wonderful pictures.
"I had some of them laminated so I could take them home and show everyone.
"They did a lot of work and we really appreciated it."
Pupils from Ysgol Bro Morgannwg were also given the chance to watch the athletes prepare for the Olympics at the stadium, before they held a question and answer session.
Tirion Davies, 12, a Year 7 pupil at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, said: "They look like they have trained for ages.
"It's good to meet those going to the Olympics.
"It's not everyday you get the chance in school to say I'm going to see someone competing in the Olympics!"
After the training session both Aled George and Elen Dfydd were given the chance to ask the athletes questions.
Richard Chidley, Head of PE at the school, hoped meeting the athletes would inspire the youngsters.
"I think they will have learnt about dedication and the amount of time the athletes put into their training," he said.
"They have 'a great opportunity for kids to see sport stars right in front of their faces.
"It's great to see them talking to the children and answering all their questions.
"I think it will definitely help them in the future."
Brett Morse, who will be representing Great Britain in the discus, said it was a 'brilliant' opportunity for youngsters to meet international stars.
"When I was their age I used to love these kind of things," he said.
"I remember when the likes of Tommy Hutchinson came to a soccer school I was at, and I used to really look up to those sort of people."