BUDDING athletes showed an ‘Olympic spirit’ as nearly 1,000 youngsters competed for gold at a sporting extravaganza.
Students from schools across the region are going head-to-head at the South Yorkshire School Games summer finals, a celebration of sport before the London games, which launched yesterday.
Teams are competing in football, tennis, cricket, rugby, rounders and indoor rowing - with disability formats - for the chance to go to the national finals at London’s Olympic facilities.
Taking part yesterday was Todwick Primary School pupil Samuel Eccles, aged 10.
He said: “I’ve been playing rugby for a long time and if we win, I want to put the medal with my other trophies.”
Poppy Sheward-Skelton, is a pupil at Silkstone Primary School, Barnsley.
The 11-year-old said: “I’m looking forward to play today as I’ve competed against a lot of other schools to get here.”
The sporty youngsters were praised by Coun John Campbell, Lord Mayor of Sheffield, as the games began at Abbeydale Sports Centre in Sheffield.
He told the youngsters: “I hope this place inspires you to compete to the best of your ability, meet new people and build lasting friendships and relationships.
“The Olympic torch visited all our region’s cities and towns last week and the enthusiasm for the Olympic and Paralympics was astonishing.
“I can sense you have brought that same spirit with you here today.”
More than 500 medals are at stake in the games, which are the culmination of local competitions between schools in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
The summer final follows the winter South Yorkshire School Games at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport in March.
Both have showcased the best school work in dance, drama and music, are funded by Sport England and are set to return in 2013 as part of the Olympic legacy.
Follow the games, which come under the wing of South Yorkshire Sport, live at @SYSchoolGames on Twitter.
n For more from the games, see The Star tomorrow.