youngsters experienced the thrill of winning medals – with the added excitement of being awarded them by a paralympian.
Australian swimmer Elizabeth Wright made a big splash when she watched families aged nought to 90 getting active in Leeds.
The talented sportswoman scooped silver and bronze at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 but this week made a special appearance at the lesser-known Meanwood Olympics.
Hundreds of youngsters leapt at the opportunity to join the weekly sports camp over the summer, enjoying activities including dodgeball, cricket, track and field events and a tug-of-war. Maureen Lillywhite, senior community health development worker with Zest – Health for Life which has run the project for the past three years, said the sessions had been a “huge success”, attracting up to 200 children each week.
She said: “It’s growing in popularity each year. I think it’s because it is an outdoor activity and the whole family can come and join in together.
“You don’t have to book or pay. You can just turn up, bring grandma and grandad along and all have fun.”
Leeds MP Fabian Hamilton helped Elizabeth hand out medals at Woodhouse Cricket Club.
And Maureen said her presence had given the event a sprinkling of sporting stardust, with excited children delighted to get their hands on her prized paralympic medals.
“The kids were really impressed and she was really, really inspiring. They loved it.”
Volunteers from Lloyds Banking, O2 and Mite helped to run the sessions as well as providing activities and prizes.
The project was funded by Leeds City Council Young Persons Holiday Fund, Community Games, Lloyds Banking and Leeds Quakers.