Westholme School’s sports awards evening reaches Olympian heights

Guest of honour at the Lancashire school’s sports awards evening was former Olympic athlete, Marilyn Okoro

A coeducational independent school in Lancashire has hosted its annual sports awards evening.

Pupils, staff and parents gathered at the home ground of Blackburn Rovers FC to celebrate the Westholme School’s sporting talent.

“Sport plays such an important role at Westholme,” said the school’s director of sport, Lee Purdy.

“Without a full team we are nothing, and the PE department is very proud of every student who represents the school in any sport.”

Following a mixture of dance, song and artistic gymnastic performances from Westholme pupils and a welcome from Purdy, sports awards guests were introduced to Marilyn Okoro.

The athlete represented Great Britain on numerous occasions, including winning bronze medals in the 800 metres at both the 2007 and 2008 IAAF world athletics finals, as well as the 4x400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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“I loved netball, I loved tennis, but running was where I found myself,” she explained. “It was also the most affordable and accessible for me, because you can do it absolutely anywhere.”

Okoro handed out multiple awards over the course of the evening, including more than 40 related to sporting excellence, given to students competing at regional or national level.

“Sport helped me in my holistic development,” she added. “I had to prove myself and I had to work hard and dream audaciously big.”

“I always talk about life beyond the track and, if you have more than one passion, that’s OK. Life is about lots of different perspectives and the world needs to see you in all your glory.”

Her thoughts on sport’s relevance to life beyond the competitive arena were echoed by Westholme head, Dr Richard Robson.

“Sport is not always about winning, it’s about giving all our pupils a broad a sporting education, opening up opportunity to play competitively to all pupils, so they acquire essential 21stcentury skills,” he said.

“Most of all it is about learning the values of sport – teamwork, unity, hard work, perseverance, and determination. These are all Westholme character traits.”

Pic: Students received their awards from former Olympian, Marilyn Okoro

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