Paralympic star helps inspire youngsters

Paralympian Stephen Miller with pupils at Emmaville Primary School in Gateshead.
Paralympian Stephen Miller with pupils at Emmaville Primary School in Gateshead.
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Paralympic champion Stephen Miller has been coaching youngsters after a surprise visit.

The six-time medallist visited Emmaville Primary School in Ryton.

The 36-year-old, from Cramlington, shared highlights from his career and offered advice and tips to the budding athletes.

It was part of visits by British athletes as London 2017 Ltd, the International Paralympic Committee, the IAAF and Blue Peter are searching for a six to 15-year-old to design a mascot for the World Para Athletics Championships and one for the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Participants have until February 10 to submit their drawings with the best 30 designs advancing to a second round of judging.

Stephen wowed pupils at Emmaville Primary by showing off his six Paralympic medals, holding a question and answer session and looking over work produced for him.

He said: “I had a great time. I really enjoy going into schools like this one and giving an insight into my career as well as inspiring young people to get involved with sport.

“The children were really engaging and asked some great questions. It is fantastic to have the World Para Athletics Championships in London and hopefully they will be encouraged to watch and become more active.

“There was a lot of interest in the mascot design competition and I love the idea of one of them potentially becoming part of the championships in that way.”

Avril Armstrong, headteacher at Emmaville Primary School, said: “It was very exciting to have Stephen take time out of his training to come to our school. It was a great opportunity for the pupils to learn about such a successful local athlete and also gain an insight into what it takes to get to the top of sport.

“The pupils are excited to get involved with the Championships through the mascot design competition and wouldn’t it be amazing if one of the lucky winners came from Emmaville – fingers crossed.

“Stephen was gracious and enjoyed a good laugh or two with the pupils. He is a credit to athletics and, inspired by his visit and being from the north east, we’ll be following him closely all the way to the Championships.”

The World Para Athletics Championships run from July 14 to 23 at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the IAAF World Championships following at the same venue from August 4 to 13 to mark the biggest sporting event of the year.