Norfolk youngsters gear up for their own mini Olympics
It may be fewer than 200 days until the magic of the London 2012 Games begins but Norfolk youngsters are already gearing up for their own mini Olympics.
This summer will see the inaugural School Games which will see more than 1,500 young people from right across Norfolk compete in a range of different sports.
Delivered locally by Active Norfolk, the event will offer a unique opportunity to motivate and inspire millions of young people across the country to take part in more competitive sport.
At a launch event yesterday, every school in the county was urged to take part in the competition which will take place 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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Norfolk's paralympic shotputter Danny Nobbs, who attended yesterday's launch event at Easton College, added: '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. Kay Batkin, from Youth Sport Trust, said: 'It's 200 days to the Olympics today and this is really an opportunity for us to deliver the Olympic legacy and bring it to life for young people across the country.'
At yesterday's launch event, 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.
Schools can sign up to the School Games by logging onto www.yourschoolgames.com
For more pictures, go to www.edp24.co.uk