Pupils make an Olympic splash

Barking and Dagenham pupils got a taste of the Olympics when they were invited to one of the sites that will host some of the world’s best athletes in 2012.

Pupils from Dagenham Park Community School, School Road, and from Jo Richardson School, Gale Street, tackled the fast-flowing rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre – the only new London 2012 venue people can use before the Games - on June 29.

Their skills were tested as they rafted the same white water that the world’s best athletes will face next year during five days of intense competition on the Olympic Standard Competition Course.

Lesley Montague, sports co-ordinator at Jo Richardson School, took along Year 9 to Year 13 pupils who had shown commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme over the year.

She said: “They all had a fantastic time. They did climbing, flat water paddling and mountain biking.

“The white water rafting slalom course was quite dramatic. It was really fun and enjoyable and brought a sense of excitement about the Olympics.”

The Schools Festival, funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, gave 2000 young people across London, Essex and Hertfordshire the opportunity to experience the Olympic Games a year before they begin.

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The festival ran from June 27 to 29, and from today until July 6.