Six excited students from South Thames College have been chosen to be ball boys and girls at this summer’s Olympic Games for the Tennis events, which are being held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. The students, aged sixteen to eighteen, took part in the tennis trials which were run as part of London Organisation Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ (LOCOG’s) Young Games Maker Programme.
The search for volunteers was held in November 2011 and was hosted in South Thames College’s new Sports England Standard Sports Hall. The students beat off competition from hundreds of school children across the boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton and will now join an intensive training programme.
During the trials the students were asked to demonstrate their skills and ability through a series of activities and skills drills. Tom Gibbins, Head of Education at the Tennis Foundation (part of the Lawn Tennis Association) said: “The Tennis Foundation is delighted to support the ball boys and ball girls volunteering programme. It’s great to see the excitement for young people being put through their paces and finalists will have the opportunity to be part of the greatest show on earth.”
In the run up to the Games the College students will be taught the essential skills they need to perform this unforgettable role at the Olympic Games. Sixteen year old computing student Priscilla Wilson said: “When I went to the trials I wasn’t expecting to get through. When I found out I’d got through I was shocked and excited. Since then we’ve had training sessions and have been doing lessons each week practising umpiring, how to roll the ball, what to do in a tie-break and how to change balls. It’s a role that no one thinks about but it’s important. I think it’s good that the Olympics are coming to London. I was going to go and watch, but now I’ll be in it!”
Andrew Beardall, Head of Student Enrichment at the College who co-ordinated the activity said: “I am delighted our students have the opportunity to participate in the Olympics in such an important role. This is an once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to be in the heart of the games. At South Thames College we are committed to giving students exceptional curricular and extra-curricular opportunities which will help to give them the skills and confidence they need to succeed in later life.”
The lucky students have a lot to look forward to. They have just completed a training camp at the National Tennis Centre, and in June they will be the official ball boys and girls for the Olympic Tennis test event. Following this, they will attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony leading up to their big moment when they will participate in the Games.
College Principal Sue Rimmer OBE added: “South Thames College embeds the Olympic and Paralympic values into everyday life within the College and we have a wealth of talented and exceptional students that are out in the local community doing positive things. South Thames is proud to be a part of the Olympic legacy.”
April 24, 2012