Thousands of youngsters are gearing up to battle it out in their very own Winter Olympics.

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Over the next week, 2,000 children from schools right across the county will be skiing, jumping, running and swimming for glory as part of the Norfolk School Games.

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural Norfolk School Games, this will be the county’s first Norfolk Winter School Games.

All of the action will kick off tomorrow with an opening ceremony, followed by the first competition, skiing.

Seventy-two youngsters aged 11 to 18 will descend on the Norfolk Snowsport Club in Whitlingham, near Trowse, and will compete in an individual time trial and a team relay.

The week-long event will culminate in a flagship day next Friday which will see 600 pupils compete in five different sports and will be attended by Taverham’s Paralympic silver medallist Mel Clarke.

Norfolk School Games organiser Stephen Hulme said: “The Sainsbury’s Norfolk School Games provide top class competitive sporting opportunities to every young person in the county. This is the first ever Norfolk Winter School Games week and is set to be an amazing spectacle, it is the culmination of months of competition in the school sports partnerships around the county and competitors involved this week have qualified through these competitions.

“The event is the result of a fantastic partnership between the Norfolk School Sport Partnerships, Active Norfolk and the UEA Sportspark, which are the Norfolk School Games sponsors, and Sainsbury’s, the national sponsor of the Games.”

Last year, some 15,000 youngsters took part in the qualifying events for the Norfolk School Games with 2,000 who competed in the final.

The event, held over two days at the Sportspark, included 23 sports, ranging from golf to gymnastics, and was opened by Olympic javelin thrower Steve Backley MBE.

This year’s event looks set to be even bigger, with both this month’s Winter Games and a separate Summer Games to be held later in the year.

In the run-up to the Games, tens of thousands of pupils have been taking part in intra- and inter-school competitions for their chance to compete at the Winter Games finals.

As well as skiiing, youngsters will go head-to-head in cross country, badminton, tag rugby, sportshall athletics, table tennis, swimming and hockey. Meanwhile, away from all the sporting action, budding journalists will be reporting on events, writing and recording reports and taking photos. All participants will be representing their School Sport Partnership, of which there are eight across the county: Breckland, West Norfolk, East Norfolk, North Norfolk, South Norfolk, Norwich, Norwich East and Norwich West and Dereham.Events will be taking place at the UEA Sportspark, Gresham’s Senior School and Diss Rugby Club.

Laurie Hull, director of Active Norfolk, said: “The second School Games is upon us already and will be bigger and better than last year.

“This year’s competition is opening up sporting opportunities to many more youngsters in both primary and secondary schools and is proof that school sport is alive and well in Norfolk.”

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