Stamp of approval for sports expo's offerings

ABOUT 900 pupils from 11 schools got a taste of different activities at the Panthers on the Prowl Community Development Foundation Sports Expo. They also learned about exercise and nutrition.

Pupils learned that keeping active through sport and staying healthy is as important as their school work.

Participants were among 2000 pupils who take part in Panthers on the Prowl each year.

Years 5 and 6 pupils came from as far afield as Warrimoo and Mount Druitt to try 15 sports at 17 stations spread across the Panthers' stadium, including the football ground, training fields and gym.

The sports on offer included rugby league, basketball, netball, athletics and tennis, along with sports which children wouldn't usually try — such as karate, golf, European handball and gymnastics.

Mount Druitt and Bennett Road public schools were among the crowds.

Penrith Panthers under-20s players and NRL first-graders Nigel Plum, Blake Austin, Tim Grant and Kevin Kingston helped development officers run the various sports stations.

Many of the teachers at the expo said that karate was one of the most popular activities.

"A lot of kids from our school don't do organised sport outside of school so this is a chance to try other sports," Mount Druitt Public school teacher Gary Watson said.

"It gives them more knowledge of what sport is on in the area and enables them to interact with kids from Penrith schools."

Kingswood Public School teacher Jenny Dunstan added: "The kids were enthusiastic to show off their skills and improve in areas they weren't familiar with," she said. "A lot of kids are happy being on the computer and may not be riding their bikes or playing sport. There should be more community programs like this for children."

Panthers on the Prowl healthy active lifestyles teacher Darren Horgan runs the annual event and said it couldn't get any bigger than this year.

"Our hope is they get into community sports," he said. "For those who don't do sport outside school, many stop doing any sport when they leave school."

Penrith Panthers NRL player Kevin Kingston envied the youngsters.

"I would have tried a few more sports if there had been days like this when I was growing up," he said. "It's great to see all the smiles on the kids' faces."

Youngsters went home with showbags packed with goodies and contact details for getting involved in different sports.

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