Nice and kneely does it as pupils push for glory

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As Olympic fever grabs the nation, Preston’s school pupils have been showing off their own sporting talents.

Not quite the scenic snow-covered surroundings of Sochi, but Frenchwood’s Christ The King Catholic High School gym proved the perfect setting for the inter-school Boccia and Kurling Championships.

Eyes ahead: Pupils concentrate hard as they take part in the Kurling competition

Eyes ahead: Pupils concentrate hard as they take part in the Kurling competition

Six schools submitted teams for the first round of the competition, which has become a regular feature in the calendar for youngsters with special needs.

The under 13s competed in the Boccia, with Christ the King topping the table, while the under 16s took part in the Kurling, with Sir Tom Finney holding first place.

The age groups will swap sports in next month’s finals.

Dean Brandwood, Preston City Council school games organiser, said: “Liz Dawson from Christ The King did a fantastic job in getting the young leaders ready to officiate, whilst getting her teams ready to compete.

“The tournament is specifically for children on schools’ SEN register, where there are generally few sporting opportunities to participate against other schools.

“To have six schools giving their children the opportunity is fantastic, with hopefully an increased sports programme on offer in the future.”

Damien Callagerm, teacher at Christ The King, added: “It is outstanding to see Preston places such a high priority on inclusive sport.

“The students represented their schools with great enthusiasm and skill. There was a real sense of sportsmanship amongst the competitors and they really enjoyed the event. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Great Britain has an enviable reputation as a leading nation in the age-old game of Boccia, winning gold in the Beijing Paralympic, gold, silver and bronze in subsequent World Championships.

At the London 2012 Paralympics, the bar was lifted yet again on the standard of competition.

New Age Kurling is a form of the original curling game currently wowing the crowds at the Winter Olympics, but adapted so it can be played indoors on any smooth, flat surface, such as a sports hall, rather than on ice.

The game can be played by both able-bodied and disabled people of all ages alike.