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Games runner put on the spot at assembly

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COMMONWEALTH GAMES runner Tom Druce was put on the spot when he was invited to yesterday morning’s assembly at La Houguette Primary School.

Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association runner Tom Druce turned up at La Houguette School to talk to pupils, show them a video and inspire them to take up sport, so was surprised to find himself competing against 10-year-olds Christine Browning and Zach Gilman, 10, to see who could do the most jumps in a minute. (Picture by Juliet Pouteaux, 20909510)

He was expecting to talk to the children only about his Games experiences and by doing so inspire them to take up sport.

Instead, thanks to Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association team official Ollie Dowding, he found himself taking part in a side-to-side jumping competition in front of the whole school against two 10-year-old pupils, Christine Browning and Zach Gilman.

‘It was a bit of a surprise,’ he said. ‘I’m more used to running in straight lines than side to side, but it was good. It is good to have a bit of competition and it was important to show that, after the first go, they got better.’

The pupils really enjoyed the assembly.

Christine said she had a lot of fun. ‘It was quite hard work,’ she said. ‘I was also dizzy with excitement to meet an athlete.’

Zach agreed. ‘You don’t get the chance to meet an athlete very often,’ he said.

‘It felt really good to get a good score by jumping side to side. I managed to do 70 in 60 seconds and I was pleased with that.’

Mr Druce, who will be competing in the 4 x 400m relay, has raced in two previous Commonwealth Games.

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He said he had enjoyed sharing his experiences with the children.

‘It’s really nice to see all the youngsters looking inspired by our video and getting them to ask questions,’ he said.

Just over 30 athletes will be setting off for Gold Coast in Australia in two weeks for the 21st Commonwealth Games.

Mr Dowding said before they go, they were organising for athletes to visit about a dozen schools.

‘It is important to show children that people from Guernsey can go and compete in the Commonwealth Games,’ he said. ‘Hopefully this will inspire them.’

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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