Kids go for gold at Hockey WA Olympic Day
EDUCATION: Forget Rio de Janeiro, London or Athens… The Olympic Games have arrived in Perth.
With just weeks to go until the Greatest Show on gets under way, Hockey WA today hosted a unique sporting spectacle aimed at inspiring the next generation of Aussie gold medallists.
The stunning showcase saw 300 schoolkids from across Perth descend on the National Hockey Stadium to recreate the iconic Olympic Games Welcoming Ceremony.
Gold medal winning Australian Paralympic swimmer, Katrina Porter, also attended the event along with rising Australian Hockey stars Kaitlin Nobbs and Aleisha Power to answer questions and provide the children with a unique insight into the life of an Olympic athlete.
Hockey CEO Peter Churack said: “Hockey is a well-established and hugely popular Olympic sport which played throughout the world and athletes from Western Australia have always been an integral part of the country’s successful Olympic Hockey Teams over the years.
“It’s a great privilege to be able to host today’s event and have so many children from schools across the Perth area taking part. I hope that today will live long in the memory of many of these young people and provide them with the dream that one day they will be able to take to the field and represent Australia at a future Olympic Games.”
Building on the true spirit of the Games, the excited youngsters walked out on to the pitch carrying a number of flags representing different the different Olympic nations before coming together to take the shape of the iconic Olympic rings symbol.
The children – from Moerlina Primary School, South Perth Primary School, Riverton Primary Campus, St Patricks (Fremantle), St Emilies Catholic Primary School and Quintilian School - then had the chance to meet the athletes before launching into a range of different Olympic themed sports and games.
Katrina Porter, who won gold in the Women's 100m Backstroke S7 event in Beiljing, said she hoped the event would inspire the next generation of gold medal winners.
“It’s really good to see the kids’ enthusiasm for the Olympics and their enthusiasm for the Paralympics as well. It’s exciting to see that they wanted to know more.
“When I was in Year 7 in 2000, Priya Cooper came in to my school. I had never met an Paralympic athlete and to have Brea there and to see her gold medal for first time and be able to touch it made me realise that I could be like her too, it was inspiring.
“Similarly, for these kids, hopefully they have the same experience and I can be part of their journey like Priya was in mine.”
Yesterday the Men’s Olympic Hockey Team was unveiled in Perth with Fergus Kavanagh the only Western Australian selected to make the journey to Rio de Janeiro.
And after his place was confirmed, the 31-year-old had a message for aspiring athletes.
He said: “My advice to kids playing hockey is just have fun. That’s what I did, I loved playing and I enjoyed the team aspect.
“Hockey attracts a good group of people. I loved playing on the weekend with my friends. From that it grew to playing at a high level. But for young kids it’s important to have fun.”
The Women’s Olympic Hockey Team is scheduled to be announced on Monday.