Page last updated at 10:46 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 11:46 UK

Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy links up with Malaysia pupils

Sir Chris Hoy on a laptop at Hartford High School
Different gear: Sir Chris Hoy goes back to school

Cycling great Sir Chris Hoy found new fans in the homeland of a rival after a live link-up with pupils as part of the BBC School Report Sports Day project.

The 2008 triple Olympic gold medallist was at Hartford High School in Cheshire when he spoke by video link to students in the Malaysian city of Ipoh.

"It was emotional because a girl he spoke to looked touched by it all," said Hartford reporter Daniel, 14.

Hoy beat Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia to the world keirin title in March.

The Scot was representing the International Inspiration programme, which aims to provide a sporting legacy to children from the London Games.

He spent more than an hour at Hartford, chatting to young people and even watched a game of Sepak Takraw.

Hartford has introduced the traditional Malaysian sport - a combination of volleyball and football - into their PE programme, while their opposite numbers are playing rounders.

Sir Chris then took part in a question and answer session, broadcast via Skype on a big screen at the Cheshire school, with youngsters more than 6,000 miles away at SMK Raja Permaisuri Bainun School in Malaysia.

"He went on webcam, fired questions at them and they fired questions back," said Daniel, who interviewed the cyclist as fellow pupil Lydia took copious notes.

Students were fascinated as the 34-year-old sportsman explained how he was first attracted to cycling by the 1980s Stephen Spielberg film ET at the age of seven.

Sir Chris Hoy watches a game on his visit
The star guest looks on as a PE session is in full swing

"When he watched ET, BMX bikes had only just come out. He was really inspired by that scene in the film when they were riding bikes through the forest looking for ET," added Daniel.

"It was a huge turning point for him to get a BMX - and soon after there was a BMX track in his local area.

"I've seen the film, so could really relate to what he was saying. What he more or less said was it was the first time in his life he had that freedom."

Hoy told the youngsters that it was not always necessary to be the best, but it was important to put the hard work in.

"At the age of 14, he was ninth in the world rankings for his age, but said it was important to enjoy it", said Daniel.

"He's now a sporting legend but he didn't have the best of facilities when he grew up.

"He had a brick wall and concrete and just kicked a ball against the wall for sport.

"The other thing he said was that medals are won months and years before the race, and the race is the cherry on the cake. The more effort you put in, the more it will pay off and get you those medals, which was a great quote I thought."

Students from Hartford High School with Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy posed for photos with children on his visit

Teacher Julia Harries said the visit had created a huge buzz around the school, and that staff and children had worked hard to make the day a success.

"When Sir Chris Hoy answered the questions during the link to Malaysia, it was lovely to see," she said.

"One of his rivals is a Malaysian cyclist and you could see the kids on the big screen and their reaction. They were so excited to be speaking to him."

Daniel added: "There was a really good atmosphere in the school and feeling of energy. He was great, spoke to everyone as individuals and was a joy to meet and interview."

Sir Chris, who competed at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, went straight back to his gruelling training programme after leaving the school.

"Meeting the young people from Hartford High School has really demonstrated to me how the International Inspiration programme is not only having an incredible impact overseas, but is also making a real difference to the lives of children and young people in the UK," he said.



SEE ALSO
Hoy eyes Commonwealth Games ride
29 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Hoy claims 10th world track title
25 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Hoy clinches historic third gold
19 Aug 08 |  Cycling

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