Sisters’ Olympic experience is one they won’t forget

SAMMIE Skinner, 20, and her sister Siobhan, 22, had an experience they will never forget at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford over the bank holiday weekend.

The sisters took part in the student championships test event which culminated in the official opening of the stadium that will host the likes of Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis when the London 2012 Games kick off in July.

On the day, the students were treated in exactly the same way the Olympic athletes will be, in an exercise designed to trial run the stadium, its facilities and staff.

Sammie, who is a student at the University of Bedfordshire, is from Bluntisham, while her sister is currently studying at Angela Ruskin in Cambridge and lives in Somersham. They are both members of Huntingdonshire Athletics Club and Sammi told The Hunts Post: “I had a really good day from start to finish.”

Both girls competed in the same heat of the women’s 800 metres and Sammi continued: “I felt so anxious as the heat list was put up so late but all athletes were in the same boat. I found out I was in the last heat and relaxed a little as I knew I had time to compose myself and get a decent warm-up.

“We were called into the call room and our bags were checked for any electrical equipment and tape was put over any sponsors.

“After around five minutes we were taken down the tunnel back to the main stadium and the walk felt like it went on for ages. That’s when my nerves really began to kick in.

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“I took as much in as possible knowing that this is how the UK athletes are going to feel in July as they walk down the very same tunnel.

“We were lined up and taken out in a line behind a man with a board which said ‘Women’s 800m heat 6’. The crowd started cheering and it was an amazing feeling.”

In their heat, Sammie came eighth in a time of 2 minutes 39.82 seconds, one place ahead of her sister Siobhan, who recorded a time of 2 minutes 47.16 seconds.

Another Hunts AC competitor, 21-year-old former St Ivo pupil Christian Roberts, who is now studying at Cambridge, recorded a time of 50.61 seconds in the men’s 400 metres race.

“My race went OK,” said Sammie. “It was an amazing feeling to run on the Olympic track.

“There was some top athletes there and a UK runner was in my heat.

“In the evening, we had the official opening ceremorny of the stadium with Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay presenting. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it.”

Another athlete taking part in the test weekend was former St Ives hockey player Hannah McLeod, who now plays for top British team Leicester Pukkas.

McLeod was part of the British Olympic hockey team that won gold over the weekend after beating Argentina in the final of their competition.

She now faces a nervous wait to see if she has made the full Olympic squad of 18.