PICTURE SPECIAL: youngsters take on multi-sport festival in Rugby

Youngsters from across the region have taken part in a major multi-sport County Festival.

Pupils from Coventry and Warwickshire went head-to-head to compete against other youngsters in the area as well as children from Solihull at a two-day County Festival organised as part of the Sainsbury’s School Games Programme.

Around 100 schools were represented at the event which took place at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre in Rugby including Rugby-based schools Rugby high School on Longrood Road, Lawrence Sheriff School on Clifton Road and Ashlawn School on Ashlawn Road.

The competition involved more than 1,200 secondary and primary school children participating in either the sports competitions or as young leaders supporting the festival.

The Sainsbury’s School Games Programme aims to build on the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and give every child and school the chance to participate in competitive sport.

The level three Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire County Festival was the latest sequence of the School Games Programme which is made-up of four levels of activity – competition in schools, between schools, at county level through the Country Festival and finally a national elite event.

Winning schools from inter-school competitions, which have been taking place across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, were invited to participate at the County Festival.

Each day saw children perform in Olympic-style opening ceremonies including cheerleading, dancing and gymnastics performances and featured competitions in Olympic and Paralympic sports such as hockey, netball, football, wheelchair basketball, athletics and swimming.

Youngsters were also treated to visits at the event by Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Mark Fosbrook and wheelchair fencing star Craig McCann.

The Mayor of Rugby Anthony Gillias also attended the event which is the first major school sport festival to take place at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre since it opened in August 2013.

The Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire County Festival was organised by the PE and School Sport Steering Group, which is made-up of representatives from school and community sport, national governing bodies of sport and local authorities, and are supported by Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sport.

Audrajean Elliott-Davies, partnership development officer at CSW Sport, said: “The School Games Programme provides the perfect opportunity for youngsters across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to get out of the classroom, have fun and really embrace competitive sport.

“The children are able to compete in a wide variety of events with both Olympic and Paralympic sports available and we certainly saw some fantastic performances on both days – who knows we may even have a sporting star of the future in the sub-region.

“But it wasn’t just the sporting events that inspired the children, this year we also saw some fantastic performances from our school talent winners including singers from Barrs Hill School in Coventry and a gym and dance routine from pupils at Pearl Hyde School in Coventry.”