Thousands of kids trade homework for hockey sticks in the Greater Manchester Games

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Over 2,000 school students ditched the books for the sporting battlefield and rubbed shoulders with superstars at the Greater Manchester School Games yesterday.

Both current and former athletes came along to inspire the future sport sports as they competed in 22 competitions across 12 different sports.

Budding gymnasts got to see three-time Olympic champion Beth Tweddle at the competition. 

Four Great Britain Taekwondo athletes gave competitors a taster session, while England’s hockey under 21 athlete Liam Kennerley was on hand to present medals at the hockey tournament.

Venues across Greater Manchester, including the Armitage Centre at the University of Manchester, East Manchester Leisure Centre, Belle Vue Leisure Centre and Eastlands Indoor Track, hosted finalists from primary and secondary schools across the region.

Children as young as six took part in tournaments in more traditional sports, like hockey, lacrosse, dance and rugby.

Students from the Heys Primary School in Tameside taking part in the open dance competition
(Image: Mark Bradley)

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But the charity GreaterSport, which runs the school games, also expanded into sports many of us won’t remember ever having tried in PE.

Handball, table tennis, and even boccia – a precision ball sport that is played by contestants in wheelchairs – were all tried out by students from across the region. 

In just this past academic year 80,123 children have taken part in the School Games, with the finale yesterday being the opportunity for the best schools in each heat to compete to become Greater Manchester Champions.

As well as your traditional field sports, kids were encouraged to branch out and play sports like Table Tennis or Boccia
(Image: Mark Bradley)

GreaterSport is  a charity which aims to change lives through physical activity, and eventually hope to make Greater Manchester the most active region in England.

Figures released last year revealed immense disparities in weight in children across Greater Manchester, with children in the region’s poorest areas three times as likely to be obese as those in the richest villages.

The charity was helped by over 120 young leaders from schools across Greater Manchester, who officiated and refereed on the day.

Children as young as six competed in the Year 1/2 gymnastics competition, with Abbotsford Prep School in Trafford taking the crown
(Image: Mark Bradley)

Sara Tomkins, CEO at GreaterSport, said: “The event has showcased the strong values that our young people hold.

“They demonstrated not only their sporting capabilities but the school games values of passion, honesty, respect, teamwork, determination and self-belief which all shone through in their performances.

“Congratulations to every young person that took part in the event, you have done yourselves and your schools proud.”

The winners for each sport were:

Sportshall Athletics, Year 5/6 – R L Hughes Primary School, Wigan

Basketball, Year 5/6 – Moor Allerton Prep School, Manchester

Boccia, Year 5/6 – Rochdale Borough School Games Team, Rochdale

Boccia, Year 7/3/9 – Manchester Communications Academy, Manchester

Dance – St Hugh of Lincoln Primary School, Trafford

Gymnastics, Year 1/2 – Abbotsford Prep School, Trafford

Gymnastics, Year 3/4 – James Brindley Community Primary School, Salford

Gymnastics, Year 5/6 – Mills Hill Primary School, Oldham

Handball, Year 7/8 Boys – Middleton Technology School, Rochdale

Handball, Year 7/8 Girls – Parrs Wood High School, Manchester

Hockey, Year 5/6 – Bollin Primary School, Trafford

Lacrosse Championship Final, Year 5/6 – Withington Girls’ School, Manchester

Lacrosse Plate Final – St Gabriel’s RC Primary School

Tag Rugby League, Year 5/6 – Gilded Hollins Community School, Wigan

Rugby Union, Under 16s – Oakwood Academy, Salford

Swimming, Year 4/5 Boys – St Wilfrid’s Primary Academy, Wigan

Swimming, Year 4/5 Girls – Bowdon Prep School, Trafford

Table Tennis, Under 13s – Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Trafford

Table Tennis, Under 15s  – Manchester Grammar School, Manchester


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