Sports Stars Inspire Students

Students at Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy were thrilled to receive a table tennis masterclass from two top players – Darius Knight and Tim Prendergast – who spent the morning at the Academy on Monday 16 January.

Darius is a Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist and was part of London 2012 Team.  Paralympian Tim, won gold in the 2004 Olympics for New Zealand in the T13 800 event.  Both were at the Academy to deliver motivational workshops as part of the Sky Sport for Living programme.

They coached students in the 2012 Sports Centre and shared experiences.  Darius said: “You need the same skills to be successful in sport as you do in life.  Resilience, determination and detailed planning are key in order to reach the top. I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire young people to be the best in whatever they want to be”.

Darius admitted he wasn’t very good at table tennis when he was young and school days were tough.  He went along to a club outside of school to keep busy and away from trouble.  He soon discovered he loved the game, became determined to succeed and was encouraged by team-mates and other professionals.

He explained how being a top athlete required dedication.  He sticks to a healthy, high fibre diet and goes to the gym four times a week to ensure he keeps flexible and toned to move around the table with speed.

Darius believes that young people are more receptive to advice from professional athletes and as an ambassador for Sky Living for Sport programme works with schools to deliver workshops on Hunger to Achieve, Planning for Success and Mental Toughness to help build confidence in young people.

Alison Smith, Head of PE, said: “Darius and Tim spent a lot of time with our GCSE and A Level students today, who were all very excited to meet them and hear what they had to say.  In fact Tim visited us 3 years ago to work with our students and came back today to quality assure the work Darius was doing. The Sky Living for Sport programme is fantastic, we’ve had a number of top sports people visit us which has been highly motivating for the students and we would like to thank Sky for their support in organising these visits”.