Double Gold Olympian Lizzy Yarnold OBE, Olympic Team GB Athlete Jack Green and Paralympics GB Medalist, Millie Knight were special guests at the Kent School Games 10th Anniversary finals day, which took place on 27 June in Canterbury, Kent.
More than 1,000 school children between the ages of 4-18 met Kent’s finest athletes as they officially opened the Games, which were held between two venues; the Pavilion Sports Grounds at the University of Kent and the Polo Farm Sports Club in Canterbury.
Lizzy, Jack and Millie got to witness the incredible energy, enthusiasm and smiley, happy faces of the children during a tour of the activities. They also spent time chatting to the children, sharing their own experiences of their careers in sport and encouraged the young athletes to continue to take part and enjoy sports, whatever their ability or disability.
The Kent School Games first began in 2008 as a Kent County Council, Olympic and Paralympic legacy project to inspire schools and young people across Kent to participate in competitive school sport; it is the model upon which the Government set up a national School Games programme in 2012. The Kent School Games is a multi-sport competition open to all young people aged 4 – 18 in primary, secondary and special educational needs schools.
Since it began, thousands of children have benefited from being encouraged to engage in school sport and many will take their love of sport with them into their adult and working lives. Sport isn’t just for the able-bodied and the Kent School Games is open to young people of all abilities and includes the Change 4 Life programme, which aims to encourage less active children to take part in more physical activity and to engage in school.
Over 15 sports were staged across the finals day which included; Disability Football, Athletics, Netball, Handball, Panathlon, Tennis, Change 4 Life events, Tri Golf, American Football and Cheerleading.
Jack Green – Olympic Athlete said: “Sport played a bit part in my life when I was at school and growing up in Kent. Ten years ago I was where you are today; I took part and won my race in the athletics competition at the first Kent School Games back in 2008”.
Double Olympian Athlete Lizzy Yarnold, said “The Kent School Games are really important because introducing kids to sports at a young age is crucial to triggering them into a good sporting behaviour, eating healthily, which as we know is great for their bodies, but also for their mental health too. Our next Olympian or Paralympic champion could even be here today learning a new sport or trying a new sport and starting their new adventure.”
Fellow Winter Olympian, Canterbury’s very own 19 year old Paralympics GB Medalist, Millie Knight said at the Games, “I tried many sports before I found the one I loved, which was skiing and that has been amazing to me. It’s so important to get people into sport because for me I have seen the benefits massively within my life. The experiences I have had, the people I have met and the confidence I have been given.”
Mike Hill, Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services at KCC and who also came up with the concept for the Kent School Games said, “I am delighted to be here to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Kent School Games. Once again it has been a fantastic celebration of all that’s best in young people in Kent and we are having a marvelous day.”
Chloe Potter from Whitehill Primary School who attended the Kent School Games said, “It was a fantastic event enjoyed by everyone involved. All the children worked incredibly hard at their events and they all showed great sportsmanship. Whitehill pupils were particularly pleased with the results of the tug-of-war event as we were able to win all 6 rounds, which was a huge boost to the teams confidence. The children have been proudly showing off their gold medals at school, encouraging other pupils to try out new sports. We are looking forward to future events.’
Kent schools are excelling in sport and another recent achievement on a national level was for Walthamstow Hall in Sevenoaks U14 girls badminton team, who last month were crowned National Schools Champions.
Another success story was for Kent College School in Canterbury who won the Lady Taverners U13 Girls Indoor Cricket National Championships.
The Kent School Games are made up of four levels of activity: competition in schools, between schools, at county/area level and a national event for the most talented school-age athletes. At a local level, the Kent School Games and School Games are delivered by schools, governing bodies of sport, clubs, School Games Organisers, KCC’s Sport and Physical Activity Service (including the County Sports Partnership) and other local partners. Kent has a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that is chaired by Roland Gooding (Head Teacher, Valence School) with a role to oversee the county festivals.
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I was really pleased to be part of these Kent School Games this year, having been involved in several before. On this occasion, I was working with the Young Reporters as part of the KSG Media Team. The team, consisting of students from Dane Court Grammar School and The Harvey Grammar School, really took their roles seriously and were a credit to their respective schools. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Please take a look through their gallery from the event …