AROUND 1,000 pupils from across South Yorkshire were inspired by the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics at the region’s inaugural School Games Summer Finals.
Teams from schools in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster competed in tennis, football, cricket, rowing, rounders and tag rugby at the event held over two days at Abbeydale Sports Centre.
An inspirational athletes’ parade including an official 2012 Olympic torch marked the start of the finals along with an opening address by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr John Campbell.
“I hope this place inspires you to compete to the best of your ability, but also through participating, you meet new people and build lasting friendships and relationships,” he said.
Pupils could also get involved with cultural activities including music and art workshops.
Westfield Sports College student Asher Mistry, aged 16, played rounders and she said: “It’s a really good opportunity to compete not just against Sheffield but against schools from across the region. It’s a different level of competition. The atmosphere is really good.”
Kayden Worsley, aged 12, from Milton School, Rotherham, competed in rowing. He said: “It’s my first time rowing and I’m excited. It feels like being at the real London Olympics here.”
With the London 2012 Olympics now less than four weeks away, it is hoped the event will inspire the youngsters to continue playing sport in the future.
The Games, led and managed by South Yorkshire Sport and funded by Sport England, also provided the chance for competitors to have their picture taken with the 2012 Olympic Torch.
Helen Cund, Head of Operations for South Yorkshire Sport said: “It has been a fantastic two days. The spirit and determination shown by every single competitor has made the Summer Finals a fantastic spectacle.
“The School Games would not be possible without the support of our volunteer team, sponsors, local partners and stakeholders and we’re grateful for the roles they have played in making the event such as success.
“Encouraging youngsters to play competitive sport is one of the key aims of the Games and the children who took part were certainly inspired by the occasion and its Olympic feel. We are already looking forward to next year which promises to be just as special.”
The Finals follow the successful Winter Games at the English Institute of Sport, in March. For more information visit www.syschoolgames.co.uk or follow the South Yorkshire School Games on Twitter @SYSchoolGames.