Bognor pupils selected to help at Paralympics

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A group of Bognor Regis students will help to run the Paralympics this summer.

The 16 pupils from The Regis School will perform essential courtside duties at the sitting volleyball competition in the tournament.

Their role will help the sport’s top performers play to the best of their abilities in front of a five-figure crowd with the eyes of the world upon them this September.

The school’s squad of 16 to 18-year-olds - helped by four teachers - was chosen by the Paralympic organisers after they achieved the only 100 per cent mark in the selection process.

Mel Walton, the specialist sports school’s director of specialism, said: “We are one of five schools that will be supporting the sitting volleyball tournament as young games makers.

“The most thrilling thing for us is that we were the only school out of all those who applied to get full marks in every category of the application process.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us and to be involved in an event like the Paralympics is incredible.”

The students will perform two roles when the sitting volleyball is underway. One will be to act as ballboys and girls to retrieve the balls and give them to the server.

The other will be as moppers to ensure the court is kept dry and free from any moisture such as sweat.

A member of staff will be on court with the students all the time.

They found out last week that they would be at the Paralympics after earning the right to take part in the world-famous event at the Excel Centre in East London at a test day at Canary Wharf just before Christmas

The pupils had to perform two tasks - to make an Olympic statue from newspapers and to create and perform a TV ad to sell tickets for the games.

Ms Walton and Sean O’Connor, the school’s organiser of games, were also interviewed to find out more about the students and the school in Westloats Lane.

But the tough work has only just started. English Volleyball officials will visit the school at the end of this month to begin the build up to the games in the first half of September.

The students will then assist in tournaments around the UK as the year progresses.

“The enormity of the tournaments will steadily increase,” said Ms Walton. “This is to get the students used to being front of larger and larger crowds.

“So, when it comes to the Paralympics they will not be worried about being watched.

“There will be 10,000 people in the Excel Centre and there will be no room for error then. You can’t make any mistakes in a situation like that.”

The school could also have one of its PE teachers at the Paralympics with Emma Wiggs the captain of the GB sitting volleyball team.