Custom House teachers face Team USA in sitting volleyball match

Teachers at a Custom House school went hand-to-hand with Paralympic athletes in a sitting volleyball match.

Watched by eager young pupils, the USA Women’s sitting volleyball team played against members of the PE department from the Royal Docks Community School as part of a two-hour training session.

The team, who won silver at the Beijing Games in 2008, played the match for the students as a thank you for letting them use the school in Prince Regent Lane as a training facility during London 2012.

So inspired were the teachers by the presence of the elite Paralympians that they have begun teaching sitting volleyball as part of their PE curriculum and pupils have been so enthusiastic about playing the game, the school are set to develop a coaching programme.

The match, which took place in the Royal Docks Community School sports hall, was also watched by Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales.

U.S Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach, Bill Hamiter, said: “The school have been wonderful hosts and made us feel very welcome.

“We’ve enjoyed our time being in your community. The Games have been fantastic.”

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Head teacher, Ruth Martin said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant to have an elite athletics team practicing here in our school. They haven’t been the only ones. We were delighted to welcome the Dutch Paralympic team here too.

“Our students have been impressed. It builds on the work we’ve been doing on inclusivity to ensure children learn together. And I’m really pleased that my PE department had the opportunity to play against the American team.”

Sir Robin Wales, who is also a LOCOG board member, said: “The Paralympics have been incredible and we’re very proud to have been the host borough.

“We’re delighted to have the Team USA Women’s Sitting Volleyball team here in our community. They are an inspiration.”

“The fact that in the first week back, pupils have been able to meet and watch some of the best athletes in the world in our own school is amazing.

“This is exactly how we wanted our residents to connect with the Games.”