Olympic star Grainger gets an education in enthusiasm from young sports fans

THREE-TIME Olympic silver medallist Katherine Grainger was the star guest as the curtain was brought down on Bank of Scotland's National School Sport Week in Edinburgh on Friday.

Grainger - the first British woman to win medals at three consecutive Olympic Games - witnessed first hand the culmination of a week-long festival of sport across the city, and the country as a whole.

More than 330,000 youngsters, and 1400 schools, have been involved from across the country, involving schools from as far afield as the Western Isles and 89 in Edinburgh.

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The week certainly ended with a bang with the newly-unveiled London 2012 Olympic Torch stealing the limelight at the Meadowbank Stadium event.

After the day began with an Olympic torch procession around the Meadowbank track, led by Grainger, 250 pupils from seven city schools tried their hand at sports ranging from long jump to javelin.

And after witnessing a hectic day of action Grainger admitted she had left hugely impressed with the talent on show.

"It was a great day at the Meadowbank Stadium and really nice just to see all the kids trying different sports and new things," said Grainger, who was joined by sailor Callum Airlie and fencers Lisa McKenzie and Callum O'Donnell in the city.

"Sport is such a fantastic thing and a really important thing for kids in school and so to see so many people out trying new things was great to see. Sport doesn't have to be about achieving and becoming an Olympic champion. It is just great for kids to be having fun and enjoying it and maybe finding a sport that they can enjoy and keep doing in the future."

"It was a busy day but a good day and on a personal level fantastic to get a look, and feel, of the Olympic torch."

With Grainger watching on the Edinburgh youngsters were kept busy throughout the day.

One of the stars of the show was nine-year-old St Francis Primary School pupil Sean Ward, who was left more than a little star-struck by his brush with a three-time Olympian.

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"It's been a great day and I really enjoyed all the different things we did," said Ward - a keen football player with Lochend Youth FC. "I think I enjoyed the long jump the best because I liked jumping into the sand.

"It was great to see Katherine Grainger. I'd seen her on TV before but it was really nice to see her."While 89 schools have been involved in the city during the week, five multi-sport events dominated the week's schedule at Meggetland Sports Complex, Inverleith Park, Saughton Sports Complex and Inch Park Community Sports Club.

Including Friday's culmination at Meadowbank in total more than 1500 primary four pupils attended the five showpiece events across the city.

While admitting the events had made for a hectic week all round, senior active schools co-ordinator for the City of Edinburgh Gael Logan declared it a resounding success.

Logan had the unenviable task of co-coordinating the city-wide celebration of sport and said: "The event on Friday was really just the culmination of a lot of hard work from lots of people.

"On Friday, the kids were looking to get personal bests in sports that they have been having coaching sessions on for three weeks running up to the event.

"There was definitely plenty of personal bests on Friday and in general it was a great week.

"With the five events over the city we had local clubs coming down to give kids an introduction into lots of different sports and that way, if they enjoyed something they had a club contact there and then.

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"It seems to have worked well and although it's been a busy one it's been enjoyable."

After a week celebrating school sport, Friday's finale was most accurately summed up by Calum Wilson, eight, from St John's Primary in Portabello.

"It's been absolutely excellent, we have been trying lots of new things and they've all been really fun," he said.