Exeter Deaf Academy have won the national track and field competition for Deaf schools for the second consecutive year. It is the first time the Cup has been won by the same school two years in a row in the history of the event.
The annual National Deaf Schools Track and Field Sports Day took place on Wednesday 4 July at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Organised by Deaf school Heathlands, five schools from across the UK compete in a variety of track and field events.
16 students set off from Exeter at 6am to reach St Albans. Teacher Nick Edmunds said: "Retaining the winner’s trophy was more difficult than winning it the first time - as defending champions everyone else wants to beat you even more!"
The national sports day involved 1500m, 800m, 400m, 200m and 100m running races; high jump; long jump; shot put and a 4x100m relay and students competed in either Under-12s, Under-14s or Under-16s categories for each event. Each student was able to enter a maximum of three track events, and all field events; Exeter brought home 28 medals in total – 14 golds, 4 silvers and 10 bronzes!
Assistant Principal Mark Stocks said: "Sport is really important to us as an Academy, and our students participate in a wide range of sports here. All students in Primary and additional needs class attend swimming lessons on a weekly basis with a qualified swim teacher.
"Other students lead a healthy and active lifestyle, including weekly sports clubs for residential students, and there isn’t a break or lunch time when a football match is taking place! Secondary students also take part in cricket, athletics, and gymnastics."
Student Matthew McCauley (15) who came first in the Under-16 boys’ 100m, 200m and 1500m races as well as the long jump event, said;
‘We are so proud of our achievements and that we have defended the trophy beating all the other Deaf Schools – it was a great day with great team work.’
Nick said: "Having tasted success last year our students wanted it again and made sure of it by leaving every bit of effort and energy on the track (and field), giving it their all. If encouraging and cheering on their teammates was an event, they would have won that as well!
"This, along with a 6am meet and a day in the sweltering heat, led to a quiet trip back, where they were no doubt setting their sights on achieving the hat-trick next year."