'I was awful at sport when I was at school' - Paralympic gold medallist visits her old school (From Harrow Times)
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Paralympian Naomi Riches tells children of Cannon Lane Junior School to 'dream big'
A paralympic gold medallist visited her old junior school in Pinner yesterday to talk to the children about dreaming big - and the days when she couldn't even touch her toes.
Olympic rowing champion Naomi Riches, 29, who attended Cannon Lane Junior School, in Cannonbury Avenue won her gold medal at the London Paralympic games last year.
Awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years honours list, she had a sensation familiar to anyone going back to their old school.
Ms Riches, who is visually impaired, said: “It’s strange how much I actually remember and it’s all a lot smaller.
“I was awful at sport when I was at school, I couldn’t even touch my toes.”
She encouraged the children to 'dream big' and to keep trying to achieve their goals.
The champion rower added:”You don’t always end up where you think you will.
“It all about sticking through the days you don’t enjoy.”
Year six student Olivia Postill, 10, said: “I’m really excited have to Naomi here because I love sports, especially athletics and gymnastics.”
Melissa Jarman, 11, also in year six, said: “It’s not something you usually get.
“I want to do something to do with sport when I grow up, maybe become a sports commentator.”
Headteacher of Cannon Lane Junior School, Richard Johnson, said the school is extremely proud of Naomi’s achievement and it was a great privilege to have her visit the school.
He said: “It is wonderful for the children to see someone who has achieved so much and be a real inspiration to them.”