PUPILS at a Canvey Island school have been learning what it takes to be an elite athlete following a visit from hurdler Gianni Frankis.

Rochford’s Frankis spoke to the youngsters at Winter Gardens Academy, leading a circuit training session and speaking about his experiences at the top level of sport.

And Rebecca Allison, PE coordinator at the school, said the former King John School pupil’s visit was well received by all involved.

“It went really well,” said Miss Allison. “We had Gianni come in and the kids completed different circuit activities. There was a really good atmosphere and there was lots going on.

“He led a Year 6 session first before the younger pupils had a go and while one class was carrying out the exercises the other children were cheering. It helped that the other kids were encouraging.”

The pupils - and some of the teachers - carried out as many exercises as they could in 60 seconds under the guidance of 29-year-old Frankis, who represented Great Britain in the 2009 World Championships.

He visited the school as part of a government scheme which provides funding for schools to improve the quality of PE and Sports.

And Mis Allison said it was definitely something the school would look to do again.

“The whole day was a real success,” she said. “He was encouraging them and motivating them and there was a real buzz around the place.

“The children wanted to do it again, they said afterwards that they felt engaged by the activities.

“Afterwards, Gianni led an assembly where he spoke about what he was like at school and about how he persevered when he was faced with troubles and obstacles.

“The children had the chance to ask him questions which they did and his answers were very interesting.

“I would definitely do it again. The children were sponsored by their parents to see how much exercise they could do in 60 seconds.

“All money raised will go towards helping buy new PE equipment.”