Thousands of young people compete to beat their own personal bests


Thousands of Hackney schoolchildren have been proving you don’t need to compete against others to be a winner.

More than 500 pupils from 40 primary schools took to Hackney Marshes on Tuesday 30 June in the Personal Bests finals.

They were drawn from about 3,000 pupils from across the borough who spent months working to improve their results in a range of athletic games, including long jump, triple jump, 60-metre sprint, and soft javelin and shot put. The children with the most personal bests in their school are then selected for the finals.

Personal Bests, a Hackney Council Olympic Games legacy project, now in its eighth year, aims to improve young people’s health and wellbeing - and prove that sport is for everyone no matter what their ability.

This year the 40 participating teams managed a total of 1,490 new personal bests, with the winning school Randal Cremer managing the highest score of new personal bests, with St Matthias second and St Scholastica’s a close third.

Speaker of Hackney Council Cllr Sade Etti gave out medals on the day, along with two young sports stars who volunteered for the event; Ose Ali, who now competes in track and field in USA for Gannon University Pennsylvania, and three times London Youth Games weightlifting champion, Omari Mears.

I want to congratulate all of the children who have taken part in Personal Bests this year. It’s great to see the competition go from strength to strength, with thousands of children taking part this year. It’s great to see children of all abilities enjoy taking part and supporting each other. Personal Bests is about doing the very best you can and rewarding those who have worked hard to improve themselves – many of whom have never had the opportunity to compete before.
The Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Sade Etti,

Jennifer Chinaza, aged 9 from London Fields Primary, said: “I think Personal Bests is a great programme because it teaches children not to give up easily.”

Hackney schools, the Council’s Youth Sports Unit and sports mentoring company, Badu Sports provide the coaches for the Personal Best programme, both within the participating schools and then at the final event.

Nana Badu, founder of Badu Sports, said: “Coaches motivate the kids throughout the programme. Working on their technique, recording their progress, talking to them about healthy lifestyles and boosting their confidence. Among our City Academy coaches are students who competed in the first ever Personal Bests programme, so they can really inspire the younger children.”

Tara Adeyemi, 15, is a pupil at City Academy, and a volunteer coach at the event. She said: “A lot of kids feel like they can’t get involved in sports if they’re not good at it, or they just don’t want to, but because this is about personal bests, everyone’s included and everyone’s enthusiastic.”