School Games festival takes over Keele University in a day of sun and sport!
Friday 29th June 2018 saw a spectacular day of parents, teachers, volunteers, and VIP guests gather to watch two thousand students take part in an Olympic-style competition.
The day featured 15 events in which the aspiring young athletes took part in head-to-head competitions with the hope of becoming county champions. Olympic Gymnast Kristian Thomas and Former World Champion Inline Skater Jenna Downing attended the event, providing words of advice and encouragement to the athletes.
The pupils were from all across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and took part in months of competitions in preparation for this day. The event saw them represent their schools in cross country, handball, Paralympics, netball, rounders, Rugby Mega Fest, trampolining, and tri golf.
The day kicked off with an astounding opening ceremony featuring dance sequences from Chase Terrace Technology College and UDOIT! Dance Foundation. This was followed with a mass warm up to get the competitors ready for an exhilarating day of sport – even the VIPs were taking part!
Then they were off! The games had commenced and the pupils spent the day competing in their specialist sports. Just like the weather, the competition was heating up with everyone having their eyes set on making their schools and supporters proud.
In preparation for the School Games, 250 volunteers gave up their time as well as continuing to help throughout the day undertaking valuable roles of officiating, running the athletes village and providing much needed water across the whole site.
The media volunteers were lucky enough to interview the Sports Stars Kristian Thomas and Jenna Downing.
Olympic Gymnast Kristian said “Seeing any sport done at elite level is very inspiring but that is not necessarily what sport is all about, it’s about taking part, enjoying it, being fit, healthy and active. You can build so many different characteristics from trying different sports, it’s all about giving it ago, trying as many different sports as possible because there will be a least one sport that you love.
I always thought gymnastics was cool, being able to walk on your hands, being able to do a back flip for my football goal celebration, I was doing things that no one else could do and I liked the fact that this made me unique.”
The Sport Stars also kindly spent time signing photos and taking photos and selfies with the volunteers.
Former World Champion Inline Skater Jenna said “I want to inspire people; I want to show them what is out there and show them that there are not just the usual mainstream sports. I now take a car full of skates around the country getting as many children on skates as I can just to give them the opportunity to try something different!
For me, growing up in a male dominated sport it was really quite tough to prove myself as a girl, people telling me that I wasn’t good enough and this is not for girls. So I felt that I had to work harder to gain the respect that I have got today; I am so proud that I never gave up.”
As the competitions came to an end, everyone gathered back around the stage to hear the long awaited results. Cheers of excitement and celebration were heard from those receiving their medals, as well as everyone else; every participant was praised for their hard work.
Malcolm Armstrong said (Chair of SASSOT Board) “What a privilege to see so many young people participating and playing sport. The Festival was organised by a great team of people and enjoyed by all in some glorious sunshine. Thanks to all concerned there is much to celebrate about this event.”
SASSOT’s Director Jude Taylor said “This year’s Stoke and Staffordshire School Games proved to be another outstanding celebration of sport for the whole county. Walking around, it was evident that participants in all the sports had fully embraced the School Games values of passion, belief, respect, honesty, determination and teamwork. A special mention should also go to our young volunteers who worked so tirelessly to deliver the event on a very hot day.”
All results from the event can be accessed here on the website.