Trip to the English Institute of Sport.
This week I accompanied 4 children to Sheffield, to visit this top class, national training facility. On our journey, we talked excitedly about the prospect of seeing world champion boxer Anthony Joshua or Paralympic table tennis gold medallist and ‘Strictly Star’ Will Bayley! (Unfortunately, neither were training there on Wednesday.)
As we arrived our first ‘in awe’ moment was when we walked across the floor markings of the Olympic long jump distances. I think if the 4 children had laid along the ground head to toe, they might have about covered the men’s distance!
We entered the indoor arena, which houses the indoor athletics track and took our seats in the stands. The children were very excited to think they would be able to run on the track and were very surprised by the camber at the ends of the track, which raised up steeply.
After an initial welcome, our first activity was to take part in athletic events. The children sprinted around the track, flopped themselves over the high jump and launched their foam vortex javelins.
During the next hour, we toured the EIS facilities, seeing many areas where Olympic and Paralympic athletes train, including table tennis, badminton and the boxing gym. The children walked on a special track put down for Jessica Ennis-Hill to train on, prior to the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and watched her old coach and BBC athletics commentator, Toni Minichiello train some of his new athletes. We were all particularly staggered at the size of the men’s high hurdles, reaching the top of the children’s chests!
After lunch, the children took parts in futsal, a game similar to indoor football. They completed some skills and short matches, all enjoying the experience.
After some photography on the top of the podium, we gathered our belongings to leave. The children and I had all had a “fantastic, amazing, cool” day, looking forward to sharing experiences with family and friends.