Biggest ever Personal Bests event hailed a huge success

The Paralympic Torch and Games mascots Wenlock and Mandeville were at the Hackney Marshes today for the finals of Hackney s biggest ever Personal Bests athletics competition. 3000 young people from schools across Hackney, as well as guest schools from Winchester and Essex, took part with 700 of the highest achieving young athletes competing for the top prizes.

The London 2012 inspired education, health and wellbeing based project saw teams and individuals compete against their own personal best times in long jump, triple jump, javelin, shot, discus, speed bounce and the Paralympic sport of boccia. Points awarded for each personal best achieved.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said:

"Personal Bests has really captured the competitive spirit of the Games and the imagination of Hackney s young people and it s gone from strength to strength since its launch. The event has been a huge success story and this year s competition has been the biggest yet with thousands taking part.

"I m proud that Hackney has developed such a fantastic pioneering educational project and whilst I congratulate the finalists and winners, I know that thousands of young people have learned so much and achieved their own personal goals."

The event also saw the first ever performance of the Hacknee dance by 700 young people. The dance has been produced as part of the One Hackney Festival to welcome the Olympic Torch to Hackney on 21 July. The dance will be performed by thousands of people in Clissold Park on 21 July.

Personal Bests is Hackney s established sport and healthy lifestyles programme aimed at 9-11 year-olds. It is currently running in more than 50 primary schools, including faith schools and special schools, and this year has involved 3,000 children. It is fully inclusive, as the children compete against themselves to achieve their own personal bests in a range of sports.

The programme includes learning in the classroom as well as sports training. All pupils who take part receive an interactive work book specially produced for the programme which includes health messages, a personal lifestyle diary, information about the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and a record of their own personal best performances. Each school receives specialist coaching, a visit from the Paralympian, Personal Bests ambassador, Dervis Konuralp and have been given sporting equipment so that they can continue taking part in these sports.