June 18, 2019
Richard Kilty tells pupils at their Sports Day, that they can achieve anything they want, as long as they work hard and set a goal to be the best in the world
When planning the Sports Day for Key Stage 2 children at Frederick Nattrass Primary Academy (sponsored by Northern Education Trust), teacher Adele McFarlane wanted to find a way to make the experience particularly memorable and inspiring for them this year. So she asked Stockton-raised Olympian and gold-medal winning sprinter Richard Kilty, to come along and talk to the children about his journey from being “A little kid in Stockton to an Olympian, World and European champion”.
Richard played a video compilation of some of his medal-winning career highlights so far, before talking to the children about how he became one of the fastest men in the country over 100 and 200 metres. “I always knew I was fast” he said, “but when I told my friends when I was about 9 or 10, that I wanted to run at the Olympics, they all laughed at me, and said no one from Stockton goes to the Olympics”. But he proved them all wrong, through hard work and single-minded focus.
As he explained to the children, the odds were against him initially – he didn’t have a lot of money, he had lots of injuries, and he didn’t always win his races. But with each race he lost, he knew there would be a reason for it, so he would treat it as a lesson, and learn from each one, aiming to come back twice as strong next time. And with that attitude, a big heart and a strong mind, he overcame his adverse circumstances to become a champion.
He impressed upon the children that whatever they want to do in their lives, they should chase that dream and not listen to anyone who is negative about it – “Don’t waste your talent, whatever it is, and everyone is good at something. But you have to work hard to be the best – you need set your goal to be the best in the world at what you want to do – eat right, drink enough fluids, and don’t play on your X-box all day! Only YOU can stop yourself from becoming what you want to be. Never give up”.
Richard then engaged the children even more, by encouraging them to run their fastest at their Sports Day, starting off their sprint races, and giving advice about race technique.
Emma Roffe, Principal, said: “We’re honoured and delighted that Richard was able to visit our school, and he inspired our pupils to follow their dreams, as well as stressing the importance of working hard, being resilient and following a healthy lifestyle. His message perfectly complemented the vision of Northern Education Trust, to enhance the life chances of our children, and he epitomises what can be achieved by hard work and focus. The children thoroughly enjoyed their Sports Day, and having Richard there to encourage them was a definite bonus”.