PUPILS and teachers from a secondary school in New Milton has been putting their athletic prowess to the test in the Virtual Lockdown Games 2020.

Students from Ballard School were invited to join in at home, competing across 12 different challenges to be completed any time between Monday June 8 to Sunday June 21.

The challenges, set by the school’s teachers, included running, push-ups, bottle flipping, kick-ups, toilet roll catching and a whole host of other activities such as ‘how many tea bags can you throw into a mug in a minute’ or ‘how many t-shirts can you put on in 60 seconds’.

More than 400 entries were received across the 12 events over the two-week period of the games, with many families recording their efforts and sending in videos and photos to be shared with the school community.

Justin Whitbread, Director of Sport, said:n“We have been overwhelmed to receive over 400 responses to the challenges from pupils, staff, parents, friends and family.

“The sheer volume of entries from the Wilverley and Holmsley Houses in the final few days of the competition allowed them to create a gap far too big for Setthorns, our opening leaders, and Broadley to close down.

“Well done to our champions, Holmsley, whose podium finishes allowed them to accelerate convincingly to the top of the scoreboard to be crowned Champions of the Lockdown Games 2020.”

Short instructional video clips were created to explain the set up and scoring system, and some of the challenges were categorised into either ‘Challenger’ or ‘Legendary’ to allow everyone to take part at a level they felt comfortable with.

Participants could try as many of the challenges as they wanted, as many times as they wanted to achieve their highest score.

Pupils’ scores were submitted to win points for their house, winning more according to the number of activities attempted and the points gained.

Headmaster, Andrew McCleave, said: “It has been wonderful to see the energy and enthusiasm with which the pupils have thrown themselves into the Virtual Lockdown Games – not to mention their parents and teachers too.

“I commend the Sports Department for finding such a fun way to support the children to stay active and healthy at home, and to bring the community together as well.”

It isn’t the only ingenious means by which Ballard has been supporting pupils with physical education during lockdown.

Sports teacher, Daniel Winch, created ‘Fit 4 Five’, a series of workout videos for younger pupils in which he demonstrated simple and fun exercises, based around everyday household items including a chair, a broom, a tennis ball and some tins of beans.