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Going for gold at the South Yorkshire School Games

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More than 1,600 children were gripped by Olympic fever when they took part in the first ever South Yorkshire School Games.

In an event based on the Olympic and Paralympic ideals, youngsters from Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster came together for the winter School Games finals at the English Institute of Sport-Sheffield.

The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Sylvia Dunkley, formally opened the games, which featured an athletes' parade with torchbearers to mark the start of the first of two School Games festivals this year.

The event saw 1,632 participants and 142 teams from schools across South Yorkshire, competing in 17 competitions across seven sports – athletics, netball, basketball, cheerleading, gymnastics, boccia and new-age curling.  Almost 580 medals were awarded during the event.

Helen Cund, Head of Operations at South Yorkshire Sport, one of the county sport partnerships overseeing the delivery of the School Games across, said: "The South Yorkshire School Games has been a fantastic showcase of competitive school sport and culture for young people across our region, kicking off what we hope will become a focal point in the school sport calendar for at least the next three years."

Yuri Matischen, managing director at School Games operators MLS, of Chapeltown, added: "It has been a fantastic atmosphere at EIS-Sheffield during the first ever School Games. It has also been wonderful to see so much friendly, competitive spirit between the schools and regions taking part. I hope the event has inspired all the youngsters to keep playing sport in future and I'm sure many of them will one day be representing their country at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Well done to all the winners."

The winter finals at South Yorkshire level were the culmination of a range of local competitions within and between schools in Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield.

A further 1,600 pupils are expected to take part in the summer festival on July 2 and 3 at the Abbeydale Park Sports Complex in Sheffield, when football, tennis, rugby union, rowing and rounders will all feature.

The South Yorkshire School Games is part of a wider School Games National Programme funded by Sport England, working to engage all children and young people in school years three to 13 in high quality, inclusive sport competitions as part of the Coalition Government's school sport priorities.

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More than 1,600 children were gripped by Olympic fever when they took part in the first ever South Yorkshire School Games.
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