Superstar athletes of the next generation were coached by Paralympic heroes at the launch of an inspirational games.
London 2012 gold medallists Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft gave youngsters top tips at the start of the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games in Sheffield.
Both the sprint runner and wheelchair athlete competed as youngsters in the games, which attract more than 1,600 talented junior athletes from across the country.
Jonnie, speaking at Don Valley Stadium where he gave pupils a masterclass in warm-up techniques, said competing in the 2009 games had helped on his journey to gold.
He said: “It was a huge stepping stone and learning experience for me, as I’m sure it will be for these guys. The message really is just about having fun.
“When I came here I was just enjoying it, it was all off the cuff, making new friends and I think I even threw a shotput at one point, so you do things you don’t normally do.”
Hannah – who was introduced to wheelchair racing at the school games and competed in Sheffield in 2011 – said: “It’s fantastic to be back. This event told me so much about what it was going to be like to be living in the Paralympic village and racing because it is exactly like being there.
“It’s great to see these kids, who are going to be beating me one day!
“I really hope the youngsters go out of it believing in themselves – that you can go all the way if you really work hard and believe in yourself.”
Sheffield teen Joshua Naisbitt, a runner specialising in the 3,000 metres, was one of the lucky few to be coached by Jonnie.
The 16-year-old High Storrs School pupil, of Nether Edge, said: “It was really interesting to meet him, see how down to earth he was and how similar our warm-up techniques were.
Last night hundreds of youngsters sang or danced in the official opening ceremony at the Motorpoint Arena.
Venues across the city will host competitions today, tomorrow and Sunday.