Olympics on a shoestring for Sunderland students

Alternative Olympians, Sunderland University Childhood Studies Programme students took part in an alternative Mini Olympic Games, but without the equipment, paper plates replaced the discus, paper aeroplanes the javelin, synchronised swimming took pl;ace without the water.  Pictured left to right are athletes James Newton, Chris McGill, Shirley Carr and Laura Dixon.

Alternative Olympians, Sunderland University Childhood Studies Programme students took part in an alternative Mini Olympic Games, but without the equipment, paper plates replaced the discus, paper aeroplanes the javelin, synchronised swimming took pl;ace without the water. Pictured left to right are athletes James Newton, Chris McGill, Shirley Carr and Laura Dixon.

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IT may not be London 2012, but students still struck gold at their own Olympics.

Up to 200 scholars at the University of Sunderland took part in their own alternative Games.

But while next summer’s sporting spectacle in the capital is expected to cost billions, fund-raisers battling it out in the charity event on Wearside were forced to work to a tighter budget – less than £50.

Competitors used paper plates instead of discus and cardboard aeroplanes as javelins.

And there was even a version of synchronised swimming without water.

The Mini-Olympics, held at the Silksworth Sports Complex, were organised as a thank you to Childhood Studies Programme students, who have been fund-raising throughout the year for children’s charities.

The students from three year groups split into five teams, with each one representing a nation.

Dr Wendy Thorley, who organised the event, said: “It’s been quite a challenge trying to be inventive for our Mini Olympics event, but the enthusiasm shown by the students to be part of such a fun event has been fantastic.

“This event was about showing our appreciation for the commitment the students have shown towards our fund-raising projects over the year.

“It’s also provided an opportunity to engage students with others on this course, who may have never met and are from different year groups.

“They can share information about the programme, what works best, and meet people in other year groups who have already been through their degree programme and are about to graduate.”

The fund-raising initiative was introduced as part of the Childhood Studies programme.

It aims to help provide opportunities and activities for students in the community while studying towards a professional career with children.

Fund-raisers have already been involved in a series of projects, from a ski-athon, Zumba dance event to a coastal sponsored walk from South Shields to Whitburn.

To date, students have raised more than £1,000 for Barnardo’s North East and The Children’s Society North East and RVI Childrens Cancer Unit.

Twitter:@SunEchoJohnston