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.
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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.
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.
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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