Norwich youngsters get ready for mini Olympics
Hundreds of youngsters from Norwich and the surrounding area yesterday got the chance to try out a range of different sports as a schools version of the Olympics was launched.
With 200 days to go until the Olympic Games get under way, the inaugural School Games was launched at Easton College, near Norwich.
Delivered locally by Active Norfolk, the event will see more than 1,500 young people from right across Norfolk compete in a range of different sports.
At yesterday's launch, every school in the county was urged to take part in the competition which will be held over two days in June.
Laurie Hull, director of Active Norfolk, said: 'The School Games will be a real sporting legacy for young people of Norfolk from London's 2012 games.
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'The competition will use the inspiration of 2012 to transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport, long after next summer.
'We would like Norfolk to get as many schools as possible to be involved and are urging schools to register so as not to miss out on this great sporting opportunity.'
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At yesterday's launch event, 200 youngsters took part in seven sports: children's versions of golf, hockey, athletics and netball plus tag rugby, tennis and gymnastics.
Schoolchildren from Queen's Hills Primary School, Easton St Peter's and St Augustine's Catholic Primary School attended the event.
Norfolk's paralympic shotputter Danny Nobbs, who attended yesterday's launch, said: 'It's an amazing initiative and anything that helps get kids involved in sport is a massive positive, especially in a home Olympics and Paralympics year.
'It would be brilliant to see every school and every child taking part. You don't have to be the best at something to take part and to gain confidence and discipline from training, it will help them gain life skills.'
Children aged from seven to 15 will be able to take part in the School Games and compete in sports ranging from those designed for younger children, including tag rugby and quicksticks hockey, to rounders, football and tennis.
There will be 16 sports included in the Norfolk programme.
The initial stage of the Games will see competitions held within schools. Youngsters will then compete against others from schools within their cluster.
A countywide Norfolk final will be held at the UEA Sportspark on June 18 and 19.
There will also be a chance for talented youngsters to take part in a national event in May at the Olympic Park.
Jon Osborne, from the Norwich School Sport Partnership, one of several school sport partnerships in the county, said: 'It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to use the power of the Olympic Games to inspire the kids.
'From our point of view, it's about inspiring the kids who wouldn't normally take part in sport to be more healthy and to use the values of the Olympics to inspire them to be the best that they can be in anything they do.'
Last year, Youth Sport Trust, one of the partners behind the School Games, helped run a national pilot of the scheme but this year's event will be the first full roll-out.
Sport England has invested up to �35.5m of National Lottery funding into the initiative up to 2015 and it is hoped the School Games will be a legacy project for many years to come.
Nationally, tens of thousands of children will take part in the scheme.
Schools can sign up to the School Games by logging on to www.yourschoolgames.com
For more information, go to www.eveningnews24.co.uk
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