Skip to content ↓

Cardinal Newman Catholic Primary School

Lead Kindly Light, Lead Thou Me On

Xavier Education Trust

Paralympian Visit

Paralympian Athlete Inspires KS2

Sitting VolleyballOn Thursday 15th March we had the special privilege of receiving a visit from 20 year old Paralympian athlete Sanne Bakker who represents Holland (ranked 4th in the world) in the Sitting Volleyball event. Currently living in London, Sanne commutes back to Holland every Monday morning for two days training before jetting back to train with her club here in the UK. As the Paralympics get nearer, her commute will increase to two return journeys to Holland every week…incredible dedication indeed.

Sanne, who won a bronze medal with Holland at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, talked to the children in assembly about her life, her training schedules and the skills required to play the game of sitting volleyball. Accompanied by Great Britain coach Matt, Sanne explained the rules and techniques involved in the game and demonstrated some of her many highly technical skills.

Alongside the skills of the game, Sanne’s story of how she overcame a serious leg cancer at the age of 12 was truly inspirational. After representing Holland in Volleyball at Under 11 age level, she then spent months in hospital after a serious operation. Once recovered and with her Olympic dream gone, she turned her focus on becoming a Paralympian. Her story of courage, determination, commitment and her pursuit of excellence resulted in hearty rounds of applause echoing through the school. Sanne also showed the children her Paralympic bronze medal (the only Olympian medal for volleyball currently in the UK) then took a series of questions from the eager audience.

Following the assembly, Sanne and Matt led two groups of children in 45 minute workshops during which the children learned how to play the game. Through a series of fun drills and activities, they discovered how fit, agile, strong and intelligent you must be to play Sitting Volleyball. The joy on the faces of the children told the story of how much they enjoyed the experience. Before leaving, Sanne gave signed photographs to all the children in the workshops then headed to Portsmouth for yet another training session in preparation for the summer games.

Sanne’s visit to Cardinal Newman will hopefully inspire all our children to go for their goals in life and chase their dreams. Her cheery personality and charming manner have also ensured that Cardinal Newman will be donning orange this summer to support Holland as Sanne aims for Gold at London 2012! Any parents interested in attending this event to support Sanne (or any other Paralympian event in London) please log on to the London 2012 website for more information.

You can read more about the Paralympics here.