In the weeks leading up to the Opening Ceremony the Somerset College Sports Precinct was abuzz, as world class athletes prepared for their upcoming competition. There were gift exchanges, media interviews, and open training sessions where the Somerset Community had their own opportunity to embrace the Commonwealth Games.
You’re now part of the Somerset Community and we welcome you to our College. We wish you the best of luck no matter what country you’re from.
Year 6 student Leo Kelly-Correa summed it up perfectly when he stood tall and officially welcomed visiting Commonwealth Games Athletes from Athletics Canada, Northern Ireland, Fiji, and Swimming Canada.
Students took the chance to meet with and view training sessions, as the athletes fine tuned their preparations. During one gift exchange Fijian Shot Putter Mustafa Fall literally gave the shirt off his back, much to the delight of one of our Junior School students who accepted his gesture.
Down at the Hammer Cage, two time Commonwealth Games Champion Sultana Frizell from Canada could be seen christening the new Hammer Cage Facility. Frizell, whose personality is as big as her throws could be seen interacting with a group of Junior School students who had gathered around to watch her.
At our new Pole Vault facility, Canada’s Alysha Newman was putting the final touches together of what would later become a gold medal performance. One of the lasting legacies for the College is that we will soon have our own Pole Vault programme that students can participate in.
Over at the pool reigning Olympic Champion Penny Oleksiak attracted plenty of attention by onlookers as she was put through her paces by one of the numerous coaching staff who were tracking her every stroke. It would be teammate Taylor Ruck however who would soon steal the limelight as the teenager went on to secure eight medals and tie the record for most medals won in a single Games.
And just when you thought you had seen it all, in walked Games Chairman Peter Beattie, former Olympian Stephanie Rice, along with Borobi to promote the Commonwealth Games pins over at the pool. The launch attracted almost all of the local media outlets and would feature a number of Somerset Students.
During their time here the athletes demonstrated the necessary traits which had made them Commonwealth and Olympic Champions. They were professional in their interaction with others, displayed discipline in their training, and exhibited great work ethic to complete their programme load. It is some of these traits that we hope our students also witnessed, will learn from and can portray through their own experiences.
As a show of generosity and appreciation of their Somerset Experience, Northern Ireland Chef De Mission Robert McVeigh invited students Kydra Walden and Leo Kelly-Correa to tour the Athletes Village where they gained an insight into the magnitude of the Commonwealth Games operations. Here they were able to see firsthand how athletes lived and breathed during the Commonwealth Games, what can only be described as a truly once in a lifetime experience.
The Commonwealth Games take place every four year’s however it’s the experiences that are created and the opportunities that are developed that will leave a lasting legacy for us here at the College.
On their Somerset Experience
Jared Macleod – Head of Operations, Athletics Canada:
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It was amazing, and you were all part of making it such a great success. Thank you for everything.