Golden memories of School Games

Sainsbury School Games 2013 'Training Session at Don Valley Stadium'Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft  with some of the competitiors as they train at Don Valley Stadium
Sainsbury School Games 2013 'Training Session at Don Valley Stadium'Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft with some of the competitiors as they train at Don Valley Stadium
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Young athletes who have spent the past four days pushing their bodies to the limit at the Sainsbury’s School Games in Sheffield rounded off the contest with a celebration.

All 1,600 athletes from across the UK were invited to the grand finale at the Motorpoint Arena.

There was live music and a video showing the highlights of the competition.

Youngsters competed at eight different venues – the Arena, English Institute of Sport, Ice Sheffield, Abbeydale Sports Ground, Bradfield and Forge Valley Schools, Ponds Forge and Don Valley Stadium.

The games were the last major event to be held at the stadium, which closes at the end of the month.

Numerous records were broken – some by South Yorkshire athletes.

Rotherham’s Adam Hague, aged 16, set a record height in the pole vault at Don Valley Stadium, clearing 4.77m despite the windy conditions.

He said: “I am really pleased because I came to the Sainsbury’s School Games looking for the win so I am over the moon. I had good training sessions all week and so I felt confident heading into the competition.

“This was the end of my season and it has been a long one but along the way I pulled on my first GB vest so I am really happy with how it has gone.”

Adam had previously finished sixth in the World Youth Championships in July.

Another local entrant tasting success although not breaking a record was Sheffield’s Kristie Edwards, aged 16 from Rotherham, who won the girl’s 100 metres in 11.88secs and was one of the silver medallists for the North East team in the 4x100m girls relay.

The school games have been running since 2006 and were being held in Sheffield for the second time, having previously been in the city in 2011.

Organisers said they chose to return because Sheffield was ‘famous for its sporting heritage’.

Among the highlights was the chance to meet Olympic, European and Paralympic medal-winners Hannah Cockroft, Jonnie Peacock and Holly Bleasdale.

The trio, who have previously competed in the school games themselves, supported competitors and Hannah and Jonnie gave a sporting masterclass sharing their secrets of success.

Pole vaulter Holly said: “The Sainsbury’s School Games is an amazing experience. I absolutely loved competing in the event when I was younger.

“I had a fantastic time, and it is such a great stepping stone for the youngsters. It helped me progress onto major championships such as the Olympic Games.”

Paralympic gold medallist sprinter Jonnie Peacock added: “It is important that those competing here have fun, perform to the best of their ability, and realise that this event is an important learning curve in their careers.

“The event was a platform for me to go on to Paralympic gold and it can be the same for others that are competing here in Sheffield.”

John Steele, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, which organises the games, said: “Many of those competing will have been inspired by what they witnessed at London 2012 and this event aims to give them the platform to go on to future sporting success themselves.”