Rural pupils in massive turnout

Athletic Park in Blenheim resembled an ocean teeming with brightly coloured fish - in sunhats - as 400 primary school pupils took part in the annual rural schools' athletics day yesterday.

The competition featured long jump, high jump, running and throwing events for pupils aged eight to 13.

Tua Marina School deputy principal Kerry Wilkin, who organised the event, said the focus of the day was fun and participation.

That being so, the best of the best of the competitors taking part would go on to compete in the Marlborough district athletic championships.

Tua Marina School principal Cheryl Wadworth said rural school students often did quite well in district championships as they had lots of parental support.

The athletics day was also a good chance for students from smaller schools to get to know one another.

"Some of them [the pupils] start college next year and it is great to get them to mingle."

Richmond View School pupil Marcelle Scadden, 11, said her favourite event was the softball throw.

"You just chuck it and if you hit the boys or the tent, you get a four."

She was really enjoying the day, "especially when everyone cheered as people cross the finish line", she said.

Rapaura School pupil Jennifer Shields said running the 400 metre race was challenging because it was the first year that she had to run that far.

"I'm happy with my effort, I know I did my best."

The Napier Mail