July 7th will forever be a day engrained in NLA history as the Sky Sports Living for Sport project took centre stage for its final instalment. The final day of celebration rounded off NLA’s 4th and largest ever project in Sky’s 14th and final year of delivering Living for Sport that is drawing to a close this month.
Professional athlete mentor Jenna Downing returned to see the group of students that she launched the project with 6 months earlier and was taken aback by how the students have matured over the length of the project. Jenna then treated students to a session on the importance of mental resilience and toughness in becoming a professional athlete before pitting some students on the tight rope, with James completing a lap on the rope in the quickest time!
Students were then challenged to demonstrate the team working skills that they had developed over the project and were separated into teams to compete against each other in a variety of tasks. The group were then given a unique insight into the world of extreme sports with an inline skating master-class off world number 1 Jenna Downing – the pick of the bunch being Gloria who excelled at the sport. Despite the bumps and bruises, the students showed great determination to carry on trying to learn new skating skills.
After lunch was the ‘piece de resistance’ – one final trip to Anfield Boxing Club where the students have been working endlessly throughout the project. Students were put through their paces in their toughest fitness session to date, with young boxer Alex teaching her some of the moves that he has learnt. After some bag work the students were threw into the ring for some sparring using the moves and combinations that they have learnt over recent weeks with David, Aaron, Sam and Sophie all impressing the judges in the ring.
When the bell sounded for the final time at the boxing club, students reflected upon what has been a hugely successful and inspiring project. One student spoke about how the project had inspired him to work hard in school as he wants to go to University to complete a degree alongside a sports scholarship. Another added “That was the most fun project I have been involved in – I didn’t realise there were so many sporting opportunities around for people like me!”
Mr Metcalf: “On behalf of the 65 students that have been put through the project at NLA, can I thank all off the staff at NLA for being so supportive in allowing students out of lessons to participate; parents for their never ending support; Sky Sports for providing access to professional athletes; the athlete mentors themselves for all of the time and enthusiasm they have shown; all of the partners we have worked with over the last 4 years – notably Anfield Boxing Club for the many hours of hard work that they have put in for our students. Finally, may I thank all of the students for buying into the project and raising the profile of sport in their community.