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Alex Danson MBE, Gold Olympian Inspires Woldingham School Sports Women


Woldingham School welcomed Olympian Alex Danson MBE at the annual Sports Dinner, held to celebrate the many and varied achievements of the school’s sports’ teams and athletes. A packed audience of pupils and parents listened as Alex described the physical and mental effort involved in training to Olympic standard.

Alex explained that, as individuals, the Gold medal winning England Women’s Hockey team, were not all the best athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympic contest, but they were the best team – and she could see the strength of team commitment amongst the Woldingham girls. She encouraged the girls to set themselves high goals. Her place in the England U16 hockey squad was secured, she told us, not because she had been the strongest player, but because she was the hardest working; that early experience of working towards a goal, getting up before school every morning to train, she believed has underpinned all her subsequent sporting glories.
Mrs Alex Hutchinson, Headmistress said:
“Friday evening was a wonderful celebration of all the sporting endeavours and achievements of the girls at Woldingham. It was an honour to have Alex Danson with us; her message of resilience and teamwork was an inspiration to all the young athletes present, as well as those of us in the audience who have reaped the benefits of playing competitive sport over many years. I am sure that our girls will accept Alex’s challenge to ‘be the difference’ as they commit to their sport in the years to come.”
Woldingham School Sports Awards were also announced at the event, with much speculation amongst the girls over who would take the coveted medals.

Woldingham Sports Woman of the Year was awarded to Sophie Foster from Leatherhead. This season Sophie has won four international medals representing GB – the best medal haul for a single British Skier at international races for many years. Sophie achieved a top 15 finish at the annual Topolino races (better known as the Children’s Olympics) in a competition of nearly 500 skiers from over 40 nations. As if this wasn’t enough Sophie was crowned Double British Champion having won the Slalom and Super G at the British Championships in Tignes. Sophie is now ranked GB number 1 at U14 in all three of her disciplines: Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G.

Mrs Caroline Treacy, Director of Sport, said:
“Sophie Foster, has skiing talent and commitment in spades - but she is also a fantastic team player and a valued member of the Woldingham sporting community.’”
Sophia King, a Sixth Former from Oxted was awarded the Sacred Heart Cup, awarded for outstanding contribution to school sport, for her breadth of involvement at first team level.
Mrs Caroline Treacy, Director of Sport, said:
“Sophia is fiercely competitive, but at the same time a delight to coach and a superb team player.”
Mrs Caroline Treacy, Director of Sport, said:
“Our girls’ sporting achievements deserve to be celebrated both for their excellence, with girls representing district, county and the UK, and also for their unfailing commitment, enthusiasm, and, most importantly, joy. Our athletes are successful because they train hard but, equally, because they support each other and enjoy being part of the sporting community. This is a school where girls play sport because they want to, not because they have to.”

Published: May 22 2017

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