Proud to be a member of the
Lincolnshire Gateway Academies Trust

Team GB Athletes visit Academy

The children at Pilgrim Academy received a visit from 2 British athletes through the Athletes in Schools programme, where athletes visit schools to share their experiences with a view to inspiring our children.

Ayaz Bhuta is a Gold medallist from the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

He is also a double European champion of Wheelchair Rugby.

Ayaz showed the children videos of him in action and explained how wheelchair rugby is played, which amazed the children! He shared how he was told as a young child that he would never be able to do any kind of sports due to health and safety.

Ayaz was born with a condition that restricted the growth in his arms and legs and spent the first year of his life in hospital.

As he got older, he started playing basketball in his wheelchair, but this wasn’t enough ‘rough and tumble’ for Ayaz, so he began wheelchair rugby instead.

He competed in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and decided then that, as a team, they ’wanted to become history makers’, so they trained as hard as they could.

Ayaz explained the diet and training he went through for 4 years to finally make it to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. It was here that he and his team won Gold for Great Britain.

After this amazing achievement, Ayaz was awarded an MBE, presented to him by Prince William.

He said: “No matter what the challenge, if you work hard and try your best, you can achieve great things.”

Katie Stainton is a Heptathlete for England and Great Britain and competes in 7 different track and field events including, 200 metres sprint, 800 metres, hurdles, javelin, long jump, high jump and shot putt.

She explained to us that shot putt is her personal least favourite event as she much prefers the thrill of running a race.

Her passion for the sport began on her Primary School Sports day when she was only 10 years old.

She found that she was good at something and it was something she loved doing, so she wants to do it more.

Over the years, Katie had experienced many injuries including knee operations and was faced with barriers to overcome through her training, but this made her even more determined to achieve.

She trains for up to 6 hours every day but also explained how important it is to listen to your body and give it time to recover and not push yourself too hard all the time.

Katie talked about how ‘food is fuel’ and how it is crucial to have a proper diet and drink lots and lots of water.

She also told us of how she undergoes ice baths after training in order for her muscles to recover quickly from her intense training which the children referred to as ‘brutal’!

Katie told us how she used to be really poor at javelin throwing but she persevered and practiced and practiced until she improved and is now able to throw the javelin over 50 metres!

She now represents England and Great Britain in competitions across the country and the world and is the 2021 British Heptathlon Champion.

Katie said: “Keep trying and keep practicing because one day, you will succeed!”

After sharing their stories with the children in a whole school assembly, all children in KS1 and KS2 participated in workshops throughout the day, led by Ayaz and Katie.

These were thoroughly enjoyed by the children, who tried some aspects of the events Ayaz and Katie compete in, as well as experiencing a really thorough fitness workout!

Mel Portlock, SMSC Lead for Pilgrim Academy said: "Ayaz and Katie were excellent!

They were thoroughly professional and the children really enjoyed their workshops.

We will be recommending them to the other schools within out Trust.

Events like this help to inspire our children and help them believe that anything is possible in life."