Ashford School explains how broadening options enhances enjoyment and participation in sport

Ashford Prep School wholeheartedly believes in an ethos of ‘Sport for All’ which means every child – no matter their ability – is provided the opportunity to represent the school competitively; we field up to ten teams on any given matchday.

Whilst particularly strong across the traditional team sports, Ashford Prep School also actively seeks opportunities for pupils to enjoy a far wider range of sporting activities. This is predominantly achieved through the co-curricular programme of over 100 different enrichment options, with sports being rotated so that there is something new each term – judo, hula-hooping and competitive dance all being recent popular additions. Last term saw pupils represent the school in table tennis for the first time at the Kent Schools’ U11 Tournament and a small group of Year 5 and 6 pupils will soon be dipping their toes into the world of motorsport with the Formula Goblin Go Kart that they are currently constructing.

An area that is growing in popularity is the family of sports that sit under the umbrella of the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon. Head Girl of Ashford Prep School, Zara, recently became the U11 European Champion in biathle and triathle, representing Team GB at the European Championships in Marathon, Greece.

“A small group of Year 5 and 6 pupils will soon be dipping their toes into the world of motorsport with the Formula Goblin Go Kart that they are currently constructing”

Biathle races consist of swimming and running as part of a single race, whilst triathle involves shooting, swimming and running in a continuous shoot/swim/run format. Races generally take place outdoors beginning with a pack start, and the winner being the first to cross the finish line. Zara trains with Ashford School Swimming; a performance programme encompassing swimming, biathlon and laser run. Zara swims three times a week as a member of the Prep Potential Squad, as well as attending weekly runfit and laser shooting sessions. Zara also trains outside of school. Zara had the following to say about her recent success and sport in general:

“I have always enjoyed sport particularly running and swimming, which was popular at school. I first had the opportunity to try shooting (both pistol and laser) at Ashford School – I wasn’t very good at it to begin with, but I have enjoyed the challenge of getting better at it. I also like the fact that it is very different from any other sports that I am involved in. Biathle and triathle combines these disciplines, which I love.

It was an amazing experience to compete in Greece. It was unbelievably tough, especially the swim as the wind was really strong, but the feeling at the end is almost impossible to put into words. I have aspirations to go to the Olympics as a middle distance runner in the future, but I know that there is a lot of hard work ahead of me if I want to achieve this. My advice to anyone who wants to try a new sport is go for it!”

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