Up and coming young sports stars from across Cumbria have lined up for their own sporting competitions just weeks before the world's best athletes head to London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Over 900 pupils competed in the Cumbria School Games across 12 different sports at a collection of 5 sports venues across the City of Carlisle on Wednesday, 27 June.
The School Games festival was one of more than 60 regional School Games events that are taking place across the country this summer and are encouraging more young people to participate in competitive school sport.
The School Games are set across four levels and they're backed by National Lottery funding through Sport England. It is fully inclusive and will increase the opportunities for young people to take part in sport across the school year. The School Games uses the inspiration of London's Olympics and Paralympics to transform competitive sport in schools and get more people playing sport.
David Keetley, Chair of the Cumbria School Games Organising Committee said; "In this very special year for sport we are absolutely delighted to have put on such a fabulous School Games festival, which not only give young people in our region an opportunity to showcase their sporting talent, but to have a go at other sports and take part in cultural activities as part of a fringe activity area. We hope that all the pupils involved in our School Games Festival will be inspired to continue in sport throughout the year."
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt said; "I want to wish every young athlete taking part in the regional School Games the very best of luck. And I want to thank everyone up and down the country who has been involved in this year's School Games for making it such a resounding success. Through events like this we can inspire, enthuse and engage young people in sport."
John Steele, Chief Executive Officer at the Youth Sport Trust, said; "The School Games is a fantastic opportunity to engage a whole range of young people across a wide variety of sports. The regional festivals that are taking place across the country will motivate and inspire thousands of young people in this special year for sport."
Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England, added; "This year's Games gives us the opportunity to inspire a generation to create a sporting habit for life. The School Games is a great way for young people to discover new sports in friendly environments."
The event also welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to the closing ceremony, where he met some of the participants and the event's young reporters. He also presented medals for each sport and watched a dazzling dance performance from the Richard Rose Central Academy Dance Troupe.
Thousands of schools across the country have signed up to take part in local class versus class and school versus school competitions along with county wide sports festivals. The flagship national Sainsbury's 2012 School Games event took place at the Olympic Park in May this year and saw 1,600 young people competing across 12 sports, in front of 35,000 spectators.
Six of the Cumbrian national competitors attended the Local festival to meet participants and be part of the closing ceremony showing off their medals and a signed national School Games flag that was awarded to the Cumbrian event from the Youth Sport Trust.
The School Games day in Carlisle was captured in film, photography and sound bites taken by Young Reporters and Young Photographers with the guidance from CFM Radio, Cumbria County Council and the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The Cumbria School Games has been supported locally by the Cumberland Building Society and the NHS Partnership Trust. Peter Temple, Cumberland Building Society said; "Having supported the Youth Games and the Cumbria Schoolympics it's great that we have been able to sponsor the event as it has grown into the Cumbria School Games. It was fantastic to see so many young people involved from all over the county. This was their Olympics and it was great to see each district march onto the track as part of the opening flag procession. Seeing the enthusiasm on children's faces as they were competing and the pride when they picked up their medals is a great thing for the Cumberland Building Society to be part of."
The festival event was one of three Cumbria School Games events this summer with the final Athletics event taking place in Whitehaven on the 4th July, when the overall winning district will be announced.
Media requiring further information should contact: Emma Martin on 07717 320573