FIVE of York’s most promising youngsters will next week tackle the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games - a major multi-sport event for elite young athletes.
The competitors will represent England across 12 sports being contested at the four-day event in Manchester, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
The York aces will be housed in an athletes’ village, take part in opening and closing ceremonies, and perform in front of a crowd of thousands.
Said York’s Josh Schofield, who will compete in the athletics, said: “I’m elated to be selected for the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games.
“It’s the highlight of my sporting career so far and I cannot wait to experience it.”
Mia Richardson, a 14-year-old track cyclist, added: “I am really excited to be competing as I competed last year and have lots of great memories.”
Ben Robinson, meanwhile, will be returning to the School Games for the second time and will be bidding for gold in the disability table tennis.
The Sainsbury’s School Games have introduced many athletes who have advanced to sporting success at a senior level.
In 2008, Team GB’s rising star of the heptathlon, Katarina Johnson- Thompson bagged a gold medal and with it the record of 1.78 metres in the girls’ high jump.
Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds took gold and two silvers in the pool in 2006, while paralympic gold medallist sprinter Jonnie Peacock came first in 2009’s ambulant 100m, setting a then record time of 12.85.
Alongside the competing athletes, there will be around 400 budding volunteers bringing the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games to life for the young athletes, along with thousands of spectators.
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, saluted the event, adding: “The Sainsbury’s School Games are a fantastic opportunity for the next generation of aspiring athletes to compete against one another in a fun environment.”
Ahead of the the Games, people in York are being urged to get behind the athletes via the Sainsbury’s “Show your Support” campaign.
People can pledge their messages of support, either online by using #2014SSG or on the campaign website: www.2014schoolgames.com/support.