How to stay calm before performing in front of millions of people and what it feels like hearing thousands chanting your name, were two of the questions asked by pupils to Paralympians.

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Five schools from Redbridge and two schools in New York took part in the video conference giving students a chance to see a different side of the Games.

They were joined by ParalympicsGB powerlifter Ali Jawad, medal winning swimmer Susie Rodgers as well as Queenie Nelson, USA Paralympic swimming coach.

Loxford School of Science and Technology, Loxford Lane, Ilford was one of the schools taking part in the international conference on Thursday.

Andrew Bainbridge, deputy headteacher, said: “It’s an experience we could never have had in reality as to get them in the same room would be impossible.”

About 20 students from the school asked questions which included how athletes cope not being able to eat chocolate and what their daily routines are like.

Mr Bainbridge said: “Ali spoke of his excitement of hearing his name chanted by thousands of people, he said ‘how do they know my name? I’m just a normal person.’ They were really down to earth and the students said at the end they are just like us, which was quite nice.”

Jai Mann, 13, said: “I believe the Paralympics have inspired the youth generation. It makes us realise that with dedication and determination we can achieve anything in life, whoever we are.”

Other schools taking part were Oaks Park High School, Newbury Park; Chadwell Heath Academy; Ilford County High School, Barkingside and Woodbridge High School, Woodford Green.

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