Suffolk’s youngsters shine at School Games

The county’s youngsters certainly showed they had been bitten by the Olympic bug yesterday.

The launch of the Suffolk School Games at Mid-Suffolk Leisure Centre, Stowmarket had it all. Music, dance and poetry from the pupils of King Edward VI School in Bury, and lots of highly competitive young athletes, who could just be the heroes of tomorrow.

For some, London 2012 will be their ‘first’ Olympics and they got a taste of what to expect. From the highs of winning to the lows of being pipped at the post and suffering personal pain - the First Aid kit was out after the first relay race.

The under-11 and under-13 County Sports Hall Athletics finals signalled the launch of the event which will culminate in a county-wide finals day on July 6.

The structure of the event, includes level 1 Intra-School Sports days, level 2 Inter-school competitions and level 3 annual area school games festivals, such as the one seen yesterday.

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Some lucky pupils may also be chosen by the national governing body for sport to represent their region or even country at a level 4 event, to be held in the Olympic Stadium, in May.

The philosophy of competitive sport has always been held in high regard in this part of the world but the emphasis on mass participation is just as vital.

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“When I was young, some of us were left on the sidelines watching everyone else, whereas with the Suffolk School Games, everyone gets a chance to compete,” said Geoff Barton, Head teacher at King Edward VI School and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the School Games in Suffolk.

“There are literally thousands of children from all kind of schools, from state to independent, private to special that are getting involved and there is something very distinctive about that.

“That is going to provide a very interesting experience. Instead of sidelining disabled sport into a different place and time, able-bodied children will be able to see different disabled sports and witness how exciting and interesting they are.”

The festival on July 6 will be made up of nine sports, including athletics, cricket, golf, gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, tennis, boccia and panathlon.

“This has been a celebration of our pupils’ talents, whether through sport, music or dance and a great opportunity for them to show what they can do,” Mr Barton added.

n SUFFOLK Sport, the County Sports Partnership for Suffolk is delivering the School Games in partnership with schools, Sport England, the Youth Sports Trust and Suffolk County Council.

Sport England has invested �4 million of National Lottery funding into organising festivals of sport across the UK, with the aim of inspiring a generation of young people to take part in sport.

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