Hundreds of children from 22 south Leeds primary schools took part in different Olympic-themed events to encourage youngsters to enjoy and take part in sports.
The children were taking part in a special Schools Games as part of Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, with Olympic silver medal Badminton winner Gail Emms a guest of honour alongside colourful sports coach Rocky Whitehead, who works with children for local charity Health For All.
It was noisy, it was raucous and it was fun, with Mexican waves, chanting and general all-round excitement – it was everything a day out for young people should be. Each school represented a country and competed in a number of activities at the South Leeds Stadium during the day.
Rocky, who carried the Olympic Torch in Beeston earlier this week and who last year won the Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award for the BBC Yorkshire region, had his name chanted by the crowds. He told them:
“Carrying the torch was amazing. I’ve worked with children for 28 years now and enjoyed every minute. You’re never too young to start, the quicker you can get going the better. You get new friends and you live a healthier lifestyle.”
Gail Emms also encouraged the youngsters to take up sport on a regular basis. She added:
“If you believe you can do it then you can do it. I want everyone to be competitive but also to enjoy themselves. When I was young I was competitive – I just wanted to be my best. If young children in south Leeds believe the same, perhaps we’ll see some medal winners of the future come from today and say ‘I can do this too’.”
National newspaper The Telegraph also carried a report today, labelling it ‘schools and community sport at its best’.