Primary pupils run with the Olympic spirit

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Children learn about competitive sportsmanship and cultural harmony for their own events

Children learn about competitive sportsmanship and cultural harmony for their own events

The build-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing is reaching fever pitch, with just 21 days until the opening. And the spirit of the world's greatest show of athleticism has been growing in Wales all term, with increased participation in school sports days reported.

At George Street Primary in Torfaen, Rhianna Taylor, PE co-ordinator, said the 29th Olympiad has been used to teach children true sportsmanship, as well as cultural harmony, culminating in a mini Olympic Games instead of the usual sports day.

"Pupils have been looking at the history of the Olympics and making flags," said Ms Taylor.

The Games have also been used to introduce more complex issues.

This week Dwain Chambers, the new national 100-metre champion, appealed in the High Court against his lifetime ban from the 2004 Olympic Games for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Ms Taylor said teaching fair play, including information about the use of drugs in sport, had been an important part of its Olympic programme. "Some of the older pupils have picked up stories about drug use in the news," she said.

Ms Taylor admits it can be difficult to strike a balance between encouraging competition and promoting good sportsmanship.

"I think we do it well. We're printing out gold, silver and bronze medals because some children don't shine in maths or English and need to be recognised. But at the same time all the children encourage each other."

Tolerance and diversity were celebrated during a multicultural festival week at Llanharan Primary in Rhondda Cynon Taf, in keeping with the 2008 Olympic message of One World, One Dream.

The school ran a mini Olympics so that the children could try out some of the more unusual competitive sports, including shot-put, javelin and discus throwing.

Bethan Price, the acting head, said the pupils had enjoyed learning about the many different cultures taking part in the Olympics.

In Merthyr Tydfil, 10 primary schools have been playing Beijing-themed sports. Pupils have been taking part in games such as Chase the Emperor (distance running) and Jump the Yangtzee River.

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