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Champion kayaker opens new sports facilities at Ark Putney Academy
Last Wednesday the much anticipated Sports Hall facility at Ark Putney Academy had its grand opening. Over the last two years the academy has undergone a £30million renovation, the Sports Hall is the first of the new areas to be unveiled with the main building set to be completed in July. The space includes a state of the art dance studio, shower and locker areas and facilities for trampolining, cricket, netball, basketball, football and indoor athletics.
The ceremony was officiated and the ribbon cut by kayaker Jonathan Boyton. Jonathan, who mentors students from the school through the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme, has represented Great Britain more than 20 times, including at World and European Championship level. He has won 26 national medals and been national champion 16 times and now hopes to qualify and race at the Olympics in Rio.
Jonathan brought in his racing kayak especially for the occasion and spent time talking to students and parents about his journey from being “not particularly gifted at sports at school”, to representing his country and being an ambassador for sport.
Jonathan said “I’m really happy to be opening these facilities at Ark Putney today. Having opportunities to get involved in sport is really important for all of us and something that I encourage everyone to do, whether it is just for fun or aiming to become a professional athlete. I hope that all of the students here today will make the most of these excellent new facilities”
The opening of the sports hall was attended by students from local primary schools as well as Ark Putney’s own students and visiting parents. It was celebrated with various activities such as a speed rowing competition, beat the goalie and cricket batting practice using the new cricket bowling machine.
Lauren Cook in year 8 said “I can’t believe how big it is, it’s great that so many different sports can take place in here.”
Mr Evans, PE teacher and Primary School Projects lead said ‘It was a fantastic day and our students had a great time trying out the activities, including the new bowling machine! The primary school students also said they had a really good time. It was good to see the new PE facilities in action and the enthusiasm from our students’.
The day gave students and visitors a clear idea of what they could look forward to in the future as additional sporting facilities such as a floodlit MUGA pitches, a running track and outside high jump/long jump will be opened next year.