London 2012: Colegrave School pupils prepare for Olympic Games opening ceremony
Eyeing up the TV cameras like a seasoned professional, Adam Abdi-Irad, eight, says: “I’ve been on TV twice before. On the news programme.”
Adam is hitting the headlines because he is one of the lucky pupils at Colegrave Primary School in Stratford performing in the pening ceremony of the Olympic Games tonight.
Going into Year Four at the school, Adam says: “The cameras are a bit worrying but she’s been here before” as he pointed to BBC broadcaster Lucy Hockings.
Fidgeting around with excitement, Adam squirms about as he says: “I’m a bit nervous because millions of people will be watching on TV. But we have practised 17 or 18 times so...”
It all started six months ago for these youngsters at Colegrave when they were selected by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to be one of six schools selected from the host boroughs through the Get Set Education Network.
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Nodding enthusiastically at the mention of Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of the ceremony that will be watched by an estimated �4billion people, Adam says: “He is nice and he is a really funny man. I like his movie Slumdog Millionaire. It’s hard practising though, much harder than school.”
Boyle visited Colegrave Primary in Henniker Road back in January where he met the potential stars of his piece for the first time.
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Rehearsing ever since, first at the school before moving to the Olympic Stadium, the children were dressed in their multi-coloured 2012 t-shirts today to make their final trip to the venue before their big moment.
Adam, whose favourite sports are football and running, says: “The Stadium is huge! It’s as fat as 54 football pitches glued together!”
Also waiting impatiently to board the coach is Bruno Pereira, eight, who agrees with Adam that it’s tough work being in a global event.
He says: “It means late nights but it’s worth it. It’s lots of fun. We would do it next year.
“I think the ceremony is amazing, people will really like it, but they don’t know about it because it’s a surprise.
“It has made me want to do sport more because sport makes you grow strong. I like running and javelin.”
As the children line up in a multicoloured cluster for the TV cameras, chaperone Juliena Davies, mother of pupil Alisha Davies-Reaz, says: “Alisha has been working so hard, all of them have been. There have been late nights and she has come home just wanting a bed but when you say come on, more rehearsals again in the morning, she’s up and ready.
“None of them ever moan or complain about the long hours, they have just had so much fun.”
As the children finally boarded the coach to the Olympic Park, parents wiped away tears as they waved back in farewell.
If the mission of these Olympic Games is to inspire a generation, then they may have succeeded before they started.