SEVEN Great Britain Olympians were joined by 400 schoolchildren to celebrate Olympic Day by taking part in a city-wide rugby 7s festival.
A total of 37 schools attended the event at Grace Academy Coventry in Wigston Road which was organised to celebrate the inclusion of rugby 7s in the Olympics for the first time at Rio 2016.
Home-grown Coventry Olympians Dave Moorcroft – former 5,000m record holder and triple Olympian – and double Olympic marathon runner Dave Long both attended the event.
Former marathon star Bill Adcocks, middle distance runner Sheila Carey, British Water Polo team member Fran Clayton, who competed at London 2012, swimmer Jo Deakins and long-distance runner Dick Taylor were also in attendance.
Throughout the day, children were able to try what was, to some, a new sport and learn the core values of rugby such as respect, teamwork and discipline. In keeping with the Olympic Day theme, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the winning teams.
Double Olympian Long said: “It never ceases to amaze us the esteem in which Olympians are held – especially when donning the tracksuit and visiting schools – and it’s been a pleasure for the GB Olympians organisation to be involved with the World Fit pilot.
“The GB Olympians is a valuable resource of experience and know-how, so as well as raising awareness of the physical benefits of sport we have also been able to espouse the Olympian values which separate the Games from other events.
“Encouragingly several children mentioned that they had taken the World Fit concept out of the playground and encouraged parents and siblings to have a go.”
President Kennedy Secondary School were winners of the boys contact festival, Willenhall Primary School were winners of the primary tag rugby 7’s festival and Cardinal Newman Secondary School were winners of the mixed touch rugby festival.
Dave Turner, PE teacher at Grace Academy Coventry, added: “We are honoured to have been able to offer our excellent facilities to host the first ever city wide rugby 7’s festival – it’s an exciting opportunity for all students and schools involved.
“It will raise the profile of rugby among students and, potentially, lead to both boys and girls taking up the sport on a more regular basis.
“It also gave our students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by coaching younger students in the game, leading training and warm up sessions, and refereeing games in the competition.”