‘Urban Athletics’ hits Sunderland shopping centre

Jayden Allan, eight, trying out the reaction test of the Sunderland City Predators roadshow in The Bridges, Sunderland on Saturday.
Jayden Allan, eight, trying out the reaction test of the Sunderland City Predators roadshow in The Bridges, Sunderland on Saturday.
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SHOPPERS and youngsters discovered if they had what it takes to be a Wearside sporting hero.

Sunderland City Predators runs volleyball, basketball and netball teams and has a Futsal team in development.

Its Urban Athletics roadshow was in the Bridges over the weekend, to boost team membership and interest in training sessions by challenging people who think games are not for them with a series of entertaining tasks.

Visitors tested just how quick their reactions are by hitting LED lights as they glowed, and how high they could jump from a standing start.

They also checked their balancing ability using a ball-mounted board linked up to a console screen, and how fast they could accelerate with a five-metre sprint.

More than 400 people took part in the event organised by the Predators, backed by the Sunderland University’s Institute of Sport.

More Urban Athletics roadshows are planned for other locations during the year.

Development officer Dave Peddie was among the Predators team encouraging people to take part.

“We’ve had lots of youngsters,” he said. “But we reckon adults have got a complex about doing this in public.

“We are trying to get families involved and its about participation. That’s the most important thing, that’s our mantra.” Emma Robson, community sports development officer, added: “People have really enjoyed it.

“We want to engage with them and hopefully get them to come along and join our teams.

“It’s been great seeing kids compete alongside their parents.

“This event will be the first of many.”

Among those to try out the activity was accountancy and finance student Alan Dao, from Monkwearmouth.

The 19-year-old was ranked fifth on the leader board at lunchtime on Saturday with a score of 112.54, made up of the results from the four tasks.

He said: “The reaction one was my favourite, but the balance one was my worst, it wasn’t my strong point.

“At the moment I’m doing kickboxing, but I used to do basketball at college and had to stop because of an injury.

“This has made me think about taking it up again.”

Jayden Allan, a pupil at Highfield Community Primary School, gained a score of 81.93.

“The running bit was the best bit because I’m really good at it,” said the eight-year-old, from Pennywell.

“But hitting the lights was a lot harder because they were quite high. It was good fun.”

His mum Stacey Allan, 29, added: “I think he did alright.

“He already does PE, but he wants to get into football. He loves sports.”

Predators teams are for those aged seven and older, with the weekly sessions run by trained coaches and teams taken to a host of regional and national competitions.

Anyone would like to find out more can visit www.sunderlandcitypredators.com, email info@sunderlandcitypredators.com, visit its page at sunderlandcitypredators or following it on Twitter via @suncitypreds.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham