Paralympian Rik Waddon gives sporting tips to Southport high school pupils

Students at Stanley High School in Southport received some sporting tips from a top Paralympian at a special event this week.

The Marshside school welcomed cyclist Rik Waddon who worked with a selected group of year 8 students for the day as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme.

Chester-born Rik, who suffers from cerebral palsy, took up cycling at the age of 14 after being inspired by watching the Tour de France on TV.

He began to compete in disability cycling in 2001, and was selected to train with the Great Britain team just months later.

Unfortunately injury ruled him out of the Athens Paralympics in 2004, but he went on to win silver medals in Beijing in the 1km time trial CP3 and in London in the mixed team sprint C1-5.

In recent years Rik has turned his attention to road time trialling, and recently returned from Spain after winning a bronze medal in the World Road Race Championships.

During his visit Rik led practical sessions on team work and communications, and also offered some motivational tips on overcoming adversity and setbacks to achieve a sporting dream.

He also highlighted the Sky programme’s six keys to sporting success which are mental toughness, a hunger to achieve, people skills, sport and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success.

Mike Smethurst of Stanley High, who organised the visit, commented: “This event went really well and our students found what Rik had to say really inspiring and motivating.

“In addition, they also realised that in addition to being used in a sporting context, the six keys to success are valuable life skills which have a much wider application.”

A comment from one year 8 student summed up the feelings of the group: “It was great to work with Rik today.  His journey has been really inspiring, and has spurred me on to do by best and think positively in the future.”