Bourne Wheelers’ Lizzie Catlow and Jessica Woodworth got to experience what it would be like to be an Olympian after topping the podium at the prestigious School Games
Catlow, 15, and Woodworth, 16, kicked off the three-day cycling competition by winning the team time trial alongside two other East Midlands riders on Friday.
Catlow then followed it up 24 hours later by claiming the B final in the street sprint to finish fifth overall, as Woodworth came 23.
And Woodworth and Catlow concluded their campaigns with 26th and 30th places respectively in the road race, as their East Midlands team just missed out on an overall cycling medal by coming fourth.
The School Games is a major multi-sport competition for school-age elite athletes and over the past four days, around 1,600 of the nation’s finest young sports stars were competing across 12 current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports, seven of which included disability competition.
Woodworth said: “I was really pleased with our performance. We actually thought we had finished second so it was a lovely surprise when we found out we had won.
“We have a pretty close bond as a team so that helped us and we communicated a lot. We also played to everyone’s strengths.
“The School Games has been so good and being part of an opening ceremony was pretty cool.
“The School Games is a bigger level than we are used to and it is harder as well because it is over a full weekend, rather than the course of an afternoon.”
The event is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
With 15 of Team GB’s 67 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games coming from School Games alumni, it has proven to be a great introduction to a multi-sport environment for the stars of the future.
Max Whitlock – who became Team GB’s first-ever gymnastics Olympic gold medallist by winning on both the floor and pommel horse at Rio 2016 – was on hand in Loughborough to officially launch the 11th edition of the event at the opening ceremony on Thursday evening.
Catlow said: “I am so happy with the win. We didn’t expect to win and it is so good to get gold.
“We didn’t think we had it because our coach said ‘I think we lost it’ but then to find out we have won is great.
“I was really pleased with the performance. It was tough and there were some dodgy corners but it was really good to take part in.
“The School Games is unlike anything else. It is a different league. This is probably the biggest event I have ever competed in.
“It is so professional and to have an opening and closing ceremony and things like that helps make it feel like the Olympics.
“I watched the Olympics and it was so good. The track riders were just incredible.
“I would like to be in the Olympics one day but I would also like to become a professional rider. That helps drive me on in training.”
The 2016 School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Association.
The Games took place in Loughborough from 1-4 September 2016. Visit www.2016schoolgames.com for more information.