26 October 2017Paralympic star Jonnie Peacock opens state-of-the-art Sheffield playground
A double Paralympic gold medalist hopes a state-of-the-art playground in one of the city’s under-privileged areas will encourage kids to enjoy the benefits of exercise and being active.
Jonnie Peacock, who won gold in the T44 men’s 100 metres in London and Rio, was at Phillimore Community Primary School at Darnall yesterday to open the £50,000 playground.
The state-of-the-art facility was designed by the pupils, who won the playground makeover in the Sainsbury’s Active Kids Paralympic Challenge.
The playground features a climbing wall and gym wall, as well as a parkour, or free-running, area.
There’s even a dancing area.
Jonnie, a sports star turned Strictly Come Dancing contestant, led the students and teachers through some Paralympic challenges which encouraged them to think differently about being active.
He knows what that entails. Jonnie was a football fan as a youngster, but lost a leg to meningitis when he was five.
“I was always a sporty kid,” he said.
“Most of the time it was just football and the monkey bars.”
Playgrounds in 2017 are far more sophisticated than the late 90s and early 2000s, when Jonnie was growing up.
He said he hoped the facility, and his visit, motivated the kids to get off the couch and get active.
“There are so many positives to exercise,” he said.
“This playground has a climbing wall and gym wall. So many different bits and bobs.
“And with climbing being a new Olympic sport, you never know, a future gold medallist might come from Sheffield.”
There are so many sports available for children to try now, and Jonnie said he hoped the playground would introduce kids to something they haven’t tried before.
“Perhaps even the ones who are already active have found something they love even more,” Jonnie said.
Phillimore head teacher Gillian Briggs gave her students credit for their design.
“The pupils’ design was amazing,” she said.
“They worked really hard at it, so we were all thrilled to have won the makeover.”
Jonnie was impressed with the new facility.
“The design the pupils came up with is fantastic,” he said.
“I couldn’t wait to have a go on it myself.”