Sidmouth sports team beat the heat in Ecuador

Sidmouth tennis youngster Katie Wiltshire scoops championship trophy in international sports event

FIVE Sidmouth students battled in searing heat to represent their school at an international sports event in Ecuador.

Accompanied by deputy head Mike Burgess, the five 12 and 13-year-olds from St John’s International School, Sidmouth, brought home two trophies, including the tennis championship, won by Katie Wiltshire.

Katie, 12, Ashley Smith, 12, Tristan Innes-Kruger, 12, Hope Burgess, 13 and Kathryn Simmins, 13, took part in the Intersek Deportivo Mundial 2011 sports contest in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The Sidmouth team joined forces with children from a school at Eiris, in southern Spain for the mini-Olympics contest, after receiving a huge welcome at Guayaquil airport at the start of their 12-day trip.

Mr Burgess said: “It is the first time the school has entered. We took an elite squad and it was no surprise to me that our students were up for the challenge.”

Up against 16-year-olds, they competed in various sports, such as athletics, football, volleyball and basketball, as well as swimming, tennis and table tennis.

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The Sidmouth team did well during the contest, winning heats against older competitors, and Katie, whose mother Sue is a tennis coach, took on a huge challenge, playing against a 16-year-old from Chile in the girls’ tennis singles finals.

In 33 degrees centigrade, Katie was soon down three games to love.

Mr Burgess could see she was suffering in the heat and went on to the court and threw water over her to revive her.

“She went back on court and lost the first set 6-3 but played so much better,” he said.

Although Katie lost the singles final, she had to play her doubles finals straight after, which she won, this time partnering Sabita from the local school against her singles opponent.

“We then had to play the championship tie break, which was one set, and I won,” said a delighted Katie, who received a glass trophy.

Hope, Kathryn and Tristan said they all enjoyed competing and relaxing on the beach afterwards.

“It was really fun,” said Tristan. “I would go again, it was a really good cultural experience because of the diversity of nationalities. There were so many from Spain and Mexico and they all spoke really good English.”