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Olympic medallist gives out over 50 sports prizes to pupils

May 23rd, 2017

Former Olympian and triple world champion, Jamie Baulch, presented prizes for outstanding sporting achievements to over 50 talented pupils at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls.

The runner delivered an inspirational speech before handing out the awards at HMSG’s glittering Sports Dinner recently.

Originally from Newport, Jamie won 400m gold at the World Indoor Championships in Japan in 1999. He also won a silver medal in the 4 x 400m relay at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

His headmaster at primary school encouraged him to join Newport Harriers running club after he won an egg and spoon race despite having to start twice over.

“I ended up training twice a week and entering the Gwent County Championships, which I won,” Jamie told the girls.

“I was the fastest kid in the country.

“I remember training in Cwmbran Stadium when everyone else had gone to see Michael Jackson in concert. I was pretty upset at the time but I look back on that and I was the only one who went on to win major medals. You’ve got to put the hard graft in, nothing comes easy in life. I even trained on Christmas Day. You’ve got to give it your best shot. When you compete and win as an athlete, it’s an amazing experience.”

The entrepreneur told the pupils that anything is possible with determination.

“You’ve only got one opportunity in life and I feel very lucky that I have managed to do what I wanted to do,” he added.

“I’m 5’8’’, like Lord Farquaad in Shrek but from Newport, and I still kicked all these Americans’ butts. When you give it your all, that’s when things come to you.

“Go out and give it your best and make sure you enjoy it at the same time.

“Don’t be lazy, turn every stone over and that gives you confidence to enable you to achieve.”

Girls were thrilled to accept awards for various achievements in 13 different sports including athletics, dance, hockey, netball and swimming.

Sixth former, Poppy, was the first recipient of the new Leavers’ Shield, which will be named after her forever more.

Louisa Scott, Director of Sport at HMSG, said: “Pupils in Year 11, 12 and 13 voted for the person they felt had contributed the most during their time here at HMSG. There were nine nominees which speaks volumes not only about the calibre of athletes that we have in this year group, but also about their ongoing contribution to school life, ability to balance commitments and position as role models in the eyes of younger pupils.

“Poppy began her Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools experience at Agincourt and since then she has represented HMSG in athletics, dance, hockey, horse-riding, lacrosse, netball, rounders, swimming and tennis. She has also been selected for Welsh rounders, Welsh lacrosse, rowed for Monmouth town and achieved grade Grade 7 ballet. In her spare time she has regularly assisted with sports clubs in Inglefield House and at HMSG and I think that sometimes she enjoys coaching the younger players more than actually playing herself.

“I think we can all agree that she is a worthy winner of this award.”

Poppy was also named Sportswoman of the Year on the night.

Following the event, she said: “To be rewarded in such a heart-warming way for something that I have always been passionate about since I entered the Haberdashers’ family was wonderful.

“Sport at HMSG is made special through the fantastic coaching as well as great facilities. Each coach throughout your sporting journey pushes you to strive and achieve your best within your chosen sport. There is also the opportunity to work closely with sport psychologists. In all sports, you have the chance to play against a wide range of different schools as well as competing in tournaments throughout the season. At HMSG, there are endless opportunities to progress your chosen sport through the levels, including the chance to trial for county teams as well as national ones.”

Poppy, who won the Wye Valley Netball League, Habs 7 and Welsh National Finals with her teammates, has also been the captain of the 1st lacrosse team this season.

She added: “For me, sport not only provides you with a sense of achievement and long-lasting friendships, but also the discipline and commitment required can be applied to academic studies. This helps to maintain a good balance of work and play.”

Poppy also had some advice for younger pupils.

She said: “Hard work and commitment will always be rewarded. Everyone will experience setbacks, even those who appear to be confident. The real challenge is accepting these as positive criticisms that will strengthen you as a person. A quote that inspired me was from Tim Notke: “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.””

HMSG dancers added an extra special element to the Sports Dinner with a cabaret-style variety show kicking off the celebrations.

The fabulous routines were choreographed just for the event, with the set and costumes being created thanks to a huge team effort.

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