My ESAA experience

Each page of this exhibition includes the stories of the people who follow the original guiding principles of the English Schools’ Athletic Association and aim to provide opportunities for pupils in every school in England to take part in athletics. ‘My ESAA experience’ records the philosophy of the people who make up the association in their own words. You can recognise these experiences by the quotation marks around them.

Image credit: Mark Shearman MBE – Athletics Images

Schools athletics has been the one thing in my life that has been a constant since the age of about 12. I started as an athlete, failing to qualify for the English Schools’ championships three times before switching events and making it to the Nationals a couple of times.

After qualifying as a teacher, I returned to the family by being a team steward for my county, then county schools secretary and being involved in staging several national championships in my county. Eventually I stood for membership of the ESAA General Committee and became part of the planning for events and strategy for the Association.

Finally, I became honorary secretary of the ESAA, and support those young people and teachers in making the most of our sport. I believe that this part of our sport, so underestimated by many outside, is vital to the future health of our sport.

It all sounds very altruistic, but the real truth is that I love schools’ athletics and seeing so many young people enjoying the sport that gave me such pleasure, albeit too many years ago.

Chris Cohen CBE
ESAA Honorary Secretary