SHEFFIELD has won the race to host the prestigious 2013 School Games Finals which will see 1,500 of the most talented young athletes compete in a four-day ‘sports spectacular’
The games will be backed by £2 million of National Lottery funding and sponsorship from Sainsbury’s.
Sheffield was selected to host the prestigious event after the this year’s contest was held in the Olympic Park in London in May.
Now Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust has announced the games will move north to the Steel City between September 12 and 15 next year.
The games will be held at venues including Ponds Forge, Don Valley Stadium and the English Institute of Sport.
There will be 12 different sports with both able-bodied and disabled participants.
Organisers say they aim to recruit around 400 volunteers – most of them under 25 - to ‘bring the event to life’ and hope to attract thousands of spectators.
Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for Sheffield International Venues, said: “Having hosted many of the sports for the 2011 School Games in Sheffield, we are delighted this high profile event is returning to the city and we’re confident next year’s finals will be just as successful.
“Over the next few months, we will be working the 2013 Games organisers to identify which sports within the programme will take place at our venues and we’re hopeful the young people will have the chance to compete in world-class facilities such as Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the English Institute of Sport Sheffield.”
Richard Lewis, chairman of Sport England, said: “We have absolute confidence that next year’s finals will be another superb milestone in Sheffield’s enviable sporting history.
“The Sainsbury’s School Games programme is helping tens of thousands of young people to develop a sporting habit for life, while the finals event is giving the most talented young people a chance to test their skills against the very best from around the UK in a major multi-sports event.”
Culture Secretary Maria Miller added: “It is fantastic news that Sheffield – a city rich in sporting heritage and pedigree - has been chosen to host the 2013 School Games.
“I know the competition will be a huge success and a great part of the sporting legacy of London 2012.”
The School Games Finals were held in Sheffield last year and their return comes despite the city’s highly-rated sports facilities having increased competition from new Olympic venues in London.
Jat Sahota, head of sponsorship at Sainsbury’s, said: “After a triumphant 2012 games, with a show-stopping final at the Olympic Park, Sainsbury’s is excited to be taking the finals back to Sheffield, after the 2011 success there.”
Helen Marney, head of operations at South Yorkshire Sport, said: “The 2013 games are an expended version of the event last held in Sheffield in 2011. Previously, entrants were decided by governing bodies for each sport, whereas there are now a series of regional competitions to determine the finalists.
“It will be a boost for young people in Sheffield and the surrounding area for two reasons - the chance to volunteer and also to aspire to compete at the games.
“There will also be the arts, cultural and musical events being held alongside the games.”
The finals will have an opening and closing ceremony, medal presentations, simulated drug testing and an athlete’s village to create the look and feel of a major multi-sports event.
There will also be a strong cultural event and schools engagement programme designed to get more youngsters into sport. In an extra innovation for 2013, 250 young people who have taken part in county-wide sport events but are not competing in the finals will be able to share in the experience, from attending the opening and closing ceremonies to experiencing life in the athletes’ village.