Bidding for glory

Photo courtesy of Ian Watson.
Photo courtesy of Ian Watson.

SHAWLANDS Academy is leading the charge as Glasgow bids for the 2018 Youth Olympic games.

Chair of the British Olympic Association Sebastian Coe joined pupils this week to celebrate the school being named the UK’s top international school by The British Council.

He told The Extra: “At Shawlands Academy, more than 50 languages are spoken, and the young people here use this to engage with their counterparts across the globe, from Malawi to Bangladesh.

“Hosting the youth Olympic games in 2018 would allow Glasgow to continue to inspire a generation internationally, in their own language.”

This follows hard work from pupils who have been at the heart of the bid, contributing to the creation of the logo and being consulted on the city’s official application.

Fifth year pupil Ammir Mehmood recently won a competition to design the official tartan for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, setting them at the forefront of Glasgow’s sporting legacy.

The school will be at the forefront of a proposed culture and education project in the run up to the games which would build on extensive twinning work already happening in Glasgow.

Yesterday, Shona Robison, Scottish government minister for Commonwealth and sport, and Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson stood side by side with Olympic gold medalist Seb Coe as they heard from Shawlands’ youngsters about their involvement in the bid.

Councillor Matheson commented: “The achievements and ambition of the staff and pupils of Shawlands Academy exemplify what Glasgow, Scotland and the UK can contribute to the Olympic movement through the power of the games.

“This school demonstrates the vibrant, cosmopolitan and multi-cultural nature of our young population.”

Depute head Garry Maguire says the enthusiasm of pupils towards the bid gives him “great pride”, and added: “We were asked as a school to take the bid forward and the input of our pupils has been instrumental in Glasgow making the shortlist.

“Every young person in the school is motivated by being involved and they have made sacrifices in doing so by giving up lunchtimes and staying after school.”

S2 pupil Sophie Haldane (13) and S1 Taylor Stewart (12), both agree the bid has motivated their training.

Sophie, a long jumper and 200m runner, has both bronze and silver medals in Scottish national championships and Scottish schools competitions while Taylor has won gold and bronze medals in middle distance races at Glasgow schools.

Sophie said: “It’s something to aim for. I have noticed all the school’s young athletes have been more competitive in their training as a result.”

Zenab Yasin (14) and Lizzy Pollard (15) fulfil a number of roles as part of the YOG committee, including meeting with the BID team, organising events to promote the games and helping design artwork.

Fourth year Lizzy said: “I hope to continue to promote the event. If the games bid is successful it would be an amazing thing for the city.”

Zenab added: “It has given the school a different atmosphere, everybody is really enthusiastic in working towards helping Glasgow be successful in its bid.”