Anger as young Olympic record breakers fail to make TV coverage

SCORES of parents have voiced their anger after a world record achieved by over 3,000 local school children failed to make TV coverage of local Olympic events.

Last Thursday 3,200 school children from Magherafelt District braved the wet and cold to create the world’s biggest human Olympic ring display at Meadowbank Sports Arena.

But thousands were left disappointed after local TV stations filming the local Olympic events, by-passed their display and failed to capture the moment.

The artistic display included the iconic blue, yellow, green, black and red rings, alongside a human Olympic torch and a message stating: ‘Welcome Torch Relay Magherafelt 2012’

Aerial snaps of the immense display went viral over social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook, with praise heaped on the young record breakers from across the province.

But despite the amazing feat, local TV stations including the BBC and UTV failed to even mention the Olympic inspired event which will be included in the Guinness World Book of Records.

On Thursday both news teams were in Ballyronan and Magherafelt to film the torch relay on the last day of the flame in Northern Ireland. And as a helicopter hovered over Meadowbank Sports Arena to capture the kiddie display, news crews passed on by to capture the torch bearer pass through Magherafelt before heading on to Larne.

On Friday the MAIL’s Facebook page was inundated by disappointed parents who say their children did not get the recognition they deserved.

Annemarie Kelly King, whose daughter was part of the Olympic display, said: “I can’t believe they never covered it, the children worked on that for days to get it rite and were out there from 9.30am that mornin, my daughter was not happy gettin a soakin and they could’nt even show it...... feel sorry for them all and they worked hard for it!” (Sic)

Mid-Ulster Mail Facebook fan Nikki Bass agreed.

She said: “Disgrace indeed... poor kids were soaked, and well behaved! TV stations should have covered that, was far more interesting than the coverage in Ballyronan. Sorry kids but well done to you all, and all our schools, proper community spirit all around!” (Sic)

Katie Mallon Gallagher added: “Shame on you bbc/utv ,!!these children worked very hard & it wasn’t even shown!!!---credit where it’s due!!!,well done to all involved,we r all proud of your great achievement!!!!!-GO MAGHERAFELT!!!!!!!!!!” (Sic)

Siobhán Ní Cainain, whose two children were involved in the record breaker said that although the event didn’t make the local TV news agenda, those who took part were still as proud to have made a part of history.

She said: “Cannot believe they didnt even mention the kids, poor wee pets out at meadowbank from 920 that morning completely soaked behaved soooo well each one and managed to break a world record, which not many kids can say they have, so shame on utv/bbc for not acknowledging it BUT will not dampen any of the kids spirits inculding my own 2.” (Sic)

Michael Brown, Development Officer at Magherafelt District Council said that although council were disappointed about the lack of local television coverage, the support and publicity received elsewhere was excellent.

“Whilst the world record breaking event didn’t make local TV news voverage we are very happy in terms of the publicity,” said Michael.

“On Friday we made the national news bulletin on Daybreak, not once but twice, the Belfast Telegraph ran a two page spread on Magherafelt’s part in the event and the BBC used our aeriel photograph of the display as their picture of the day.

“NEELB TV also streamed a live internet broadcast of the events and over 5,000 people around the world watched the part that Magherafelt played in the Olympics.”

He continued: “Obviously we were slightly disappointed that it didn’t receive more TV coverage but we understand that it was a busy day for the media.”

A spokesperson for BBC Northern Ireland told the MAIL that news teams were unable to cover the Olympic record breaker due to the “huge amount” of Jubilee and Olympic torch relay events taking part across the province.

A UTV spokesperson added: “Our audience was delighted with our comprehensive coverage of the Olympic torch’s six day journey around Ireland.”