Olympians put Doncaster pupils through their paces

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Young athletes of the future were encouraged to follow their dreams by two Olympians, who dropped by their school for a day.

Olympic diver Rebecca Gallentree and swimmer James Kirton visited Waverley Primary Academy in Balby and received a very warm reception.

The pair talked about their own life experiences and how they progressed in sport, then held circuit training sessions involving every child in the school.

Along with raising the aspirations of pupils, and inspiring them to do more sport, the Olympians helped to raise cash for sports equipment in school.

Thirty-two year old Rebecca, who retired from professional sport at the start of this year, competed in her first international event in 2004. She won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the women’s 3m synchronised springboard, alongside Alicia Blagg.

She then went on to win the team event at the 2015 World Championships alongside Tom Daley.

She said she has achieved more in her career than she ever thought she could and puts her success down mainly to a passion for diving, along with determination and plenty of hard work.

Now she is keen to inspire the next generation of Olympic athletes.

James retired in 2013 from professional sport. He received his first GB call-up in 2005, then qualified the next year for the 2007 World Long Course Championships in Australia. Despite injuries, his focus and discipline allowed him to qualify for the next Olympics and he competed at Beijing, with only partial use of his legs. He later missed the chance to compete in London due to a serious shoulder injury, and thus decided to call it a day, but went on to help coach other Olympians.