Some 750 young athletes took part in the Sainsbury’s School Games Summer Festival at Yarborough Leisure Centre in Lincoln on Wednesday, July 9.
Students from schools across Lincolnshire were welcomed by Lincoln’s Winter Paralympic medalist Jade Etherington and athletics Paralympian Sam Ruddock, who shared their experiences and cheered on the competitors throughout the day.
School teams from across the county took part in various competitions throughout the year in order to qualify for the festival.
The games began with a vibrant opening ceremony, where the students paraded their mascots in time to live drumming.
The festival welcomed students of all abilities to take part in eight sports: athletics, boccia, goalball, golf, hockey, rounders, tennis and volleyball.
Some 150 young leaders from the Lincolnshire Local Organising Committee, as well as the Lincolnshire Sport charity, were at hand to support on the day.
The winning teams awarded with trophies at the closing ceremony were:
- Goalball – Lacey Gardens Primary School (KS2)
- Athletics – Ambergate MLD School (KS3/4)
- Tennis – Tower Road Primary School (KS2)
- Volleyball – Boys – Priory Ruskin Academy U15
- Volleyball – Girls – Skegness Grammar U15
- Rounders – Grantham Prep School Year 6
- Rounders – Bourne Academy – year 10
- Golf – St Michaels Louth Year 3/4
- Hockey – Moulton John Harrox Year 5/6
- Boccia – St George’s Secondary School
The focus of the games is to engage more young people to participate in school competitions and to strive for personal targets.
Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Brent Charlesworth, said: “It’s really important that children develop a positive interest in sport, health and recreation.
“The great thing about these games is that its not all about the competition and sorting out the best, but it’s something for everyone and it’s something that is essential for children’s health and wellbeing.
“There is a huge variety of sports on offer today and there is something that every child can succeed at.”
Sam Ruddock, who made his Paralympic debut at London 2012, competing in both the T35 100m and 200m events, told the competitors to “use this as a stepping stone to greater things.”
Sam, who has cerebral palsy, said: “School sporting was difficult for me as I didn’t stand much of a chance in competitions.
“This festival is great because it is encompassing Paralympic sports such as boccia and goalball in a mainstream environment.
“These kids are really, really fortunate to be benefiting from everything that the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics brought. I certainly didn’t have opportunities like this when I was at school.
“I started playing rugby and basketball at around 15-years-old. From there I went on to university and played American football. I did that because there were no trials, and if you liked it you could play it.
“My advice to young athletes would be to just enjoy what you do. Do what you love and love what you do. Your passion for what you do is what keeps you in it when it gets hard.”
Sarah Shammon, a teacher at Branston Community Academy, said: “This is a fantasctic opportunity for the young athletes. I’m here today with some of my GCSE students and it’s great for them to mix with the younger children too.”
Chloe Neil (15) is a GCSE Sports student at Branston Community Academy. She said: “I enjoy sport and it’s fun to be active. I like more athletics based sports like running and I like rounders.
“Seeing Jade Etherington is great. Knowing that she came from here and that she has gone on to do really well is inspiring.”