Pupils run off with fitness prize

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CHILDREN these days are often accused of preferring PlayStation and junk food to sports.

But you won't find this lot sneaking off at lunchtime for a fast food fix, because when it comes to fitness they are in a class of their own. Pupils at Lasswade High School have earned it the title of fittest secondary school in Britain.

The Midlothian school took the top prize in the Fitter Schools Challenge, in which 3,000 UK schools put their sporting prowess to the test. The school was presented with a trophy and 10,000 worth of sports equipment by Olympian Roger Black.

George Falconer, principal teacher of physical education at Lasswade High said: "The pupils were all really enthusiastic about the challenges and they've been rewarded for the effort they put in. We've been given 21 spinner bikes which cost around 450 each, equipment for speed-badminton and a new game called Crazy Catch, as well as a set of Pyrex dishes to promote healthy eating."

The challenge was open to first and second year pupils at every school in the UK last year.

Each school had to complete in three challenges which tested their skills and stamina.

Pupils were asked to complete a shuttle run, which tested their ability to accelerate and change direction. They were also challenged to see how many star jumps they could do in a minute.

Deputy head teacher Rosemary Mitchell said:

"We've got a great sports centre and a fantastic PE department who encourage lots of extra-curricular activities.

We're also the home of the Midlothian School of Gymnastics – one of the best training facilities in Britain."

The Fitter Schools Challenge was organised by the Fit for Sport Foundation, which recently featured in a Channel 4 documentary Unfit Kids, hosted by footballer turned TV presenter Ian Wright.

Olympic silver medallist Roger Black said: "Fitter Schools is a fantastic initiative to emphasise the importance of being physically active.

I particularly like the fact that the whole school gets involved. This encourages a great team spirit and teaches children keeping fit isn't just for the sporty, physically gifted kids, everyone can participate and benefit."