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First School Games Festival kicks off in Cornwall

First School Games Festival kicks off in Cornwall

Over 1,500 Cornish pupils showcase their talent in countywide sports competition

Budding sports stars across the county have competed in the first Cornwall School Games as part of a new and exciting national opportunity, inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games, for young people to play more competitive sport in school.

Over 1,500 pupils competed in the 2011 Cornwall School Games on Sunday June 26, across a range of sports, including surfing, rugby 7's, gig rowing, tennis, wheelchair basketball, netball, athletics and hockey; at Penryn College, Godrevy beach, Carn Brea running track and Stithians Lake.

Mother of two participants, Sara Hopper, enthuses: "My twin boys had a fantastic day. The events were very well organised and there was plenty of support for all the athletes. The timings and length of the events were spot on so that the boys were able to get the most out of the events without being overtired. Of course the wheelchair basket ball was the highlight of the day, closely followed by the table tennis cricket!"

Motivating and supporting students throughout the day were Cornish Olympic weightlifter Michaela Breeze, international rugby stars Thinus Delport and Chris Horsman, Olympic-hopeful sailing duo John Pink and Rick Peacock, as well as local MP George Eustace.

The Cornwall School Games was one of nine pilot events taking place across the country this summer ahead of the launch of the full national School Games in September, which will allow schools across the whole of the country to be involved.

The event was collaboratively organised by Cornwall Sports Partnership, the School Sports Partnerships, National Governing Bodies of Sport, and Headteacher representatives from Cornwall's maintained and independent secondary schools.   

Tim Marrion from the Cornwall Sports Partnership, comments: "The 2011 Cornwall School Games was just fantastic and has certainly made a massive impact on everyone that took part. Each location ran seamless competitions, offering students the chance to shine in their own sport and we couldn't have asked for a more successful outcome for the day, including the weather, which was definitely reflected in the smiles of all the participants!

"As one of only nine pilot events happening across the country this year, we are thrilled to have been involved in the delivery of this national event. It was a privilege to have worked alongside such a strong collaborative team in organising an incredible event for Cornish young people and we'd therefore like to thank everyone who worked so hard in making it happen and to congratulate each and every student that took part."

Students from across the county were also able to compete in a dedicated sailing competition as part of the festival, on Wednesday June 29 at Restronguet Sailing Club in Mylor Harbour. The all day event saw over 100 pupils compete in eight sailing events.

Set across four levels, the School Games framework is fully inclusive and will increase the amount of competitive sport taking place across the school year.  From class versus class and school versus school, through to countywide sports festivals and culminating in a national finals event - the first of which will be held at the Olympic Park in London next May - the School Games is a real celebration of sport.

Marie Hunter, Head Teacher at Penryn College and Chair of the Cornwall School Games Organising Committee, said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity to get schools from across our region competing against each other and experiencing all that is great about sport.  With the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics moving ever closer there really is no better time to be inspiring our young people through the power of sport."

Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of the Youth Sport Trust, said: "Competitive sport can play such a crucial role in the development of young people.  It teaches them a range of life skills - from confidence and self esteem to respect and friendship - all of which will support them as they continue to progress through school and on to future careers.  I hope those who competed today achieved their very best and enjoyed being part of such a great event."

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, added: "I want to congratulate all the competitors and organisers for making this first School Games festival such a success.  It's incredibly inspiring to see so many young people taking part in competitive sport.  London's Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner, and we want to use the inspiration of 2012 to boost school sport and leave a real sporting legacy."

Cornish Olympic Sailor, Ben Ainslie, enthuses: "Sport has the power to change people's lives. It excites, it motivates, it inspires. It has given me amazing opportunities to not only achieve my Olympic dreams but to also become the person I want to be.

"I fully support the Cornwall School Games as I believe it will be a fantastic opportunity for all involved to achieve their own sporting excellence".

The School Games framework is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Department of Health, Paralympics GB and the Youth Sport Trust.  Over £100 million of Lottery and Government funding is being injected into the School Games over the next three years.

Click here for further information about how schools can become involved in the next Cornwall School Games.