Judo champion and paralympic athlete inspire Shropshire students

They have won medals in Beijing, Athens and Cairo - and now two talented athletes have been inspiring students at a north Shropshire school.

Judo champion Tom Davies spent a day throwing, dropping and grappling pupils at the Thomas Adams School in Wem, before paralympian Rhiannon Henry gave a motivational speech to female students.

Headteacher Liz Dakin said: “Both visits have been a huge coup for the school.

“To have these medal winners come and speak to our students has been an inspiration, it is not something that happens every day.

“The students have learnt first-hand that sport can teach them so much, whether it is social skills or focus and determination - the talks have included important life lessons.

“We believe this will help throughout school and college but also later in life, whether experiencing setbacks or going for a job interview.”

Tom Davies, a Commonwealth and British judo champion, visited the school in Lowe Hill Road on Thursday (DEC 4) as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport project.

The project involves athlete mentors visiting UK secondary schools to boost confidence, change behaviours, increase attainment and improve life skills.

The 30-year-old, who has won three gold medals, hopes to make it onto Team GB for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He said: “I hope that I can offer the advice young people need to supply them with the building blocks for their future.”

Rhiannon Henry hopes she can become the latest paralympian to swap success in the pool for glory on the bike.

The 27-year-old, who is visually impaired, won paralympic, world and European medals during her time in the Great Britain swimming squad.

But when she failed to make the podium at the 2012 games she joined the British Cycling Paralympic Academy programme as a tandem stoker - the non-steering rider.

Her talk on Friday (DEC 5) was arranged by Ceri Kempster, second in PE.

Mrs Kempster said: “All our students can take something from the determination of Rhiannon.

“To hear her story can show our students that you can always search for ways to improve and should never give up on yourself.”

Head of PE Tom McAleavy said Tom’s story of triumph over adversity helped to support teachers to motivate the pupils to be the best they can be.

All students at the school were involved in the two day event as well as those from Adams College, the sixth form.

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