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UK School Games Preview

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Jason Gardener

Athens, Sydney, Barcelona and Los Angeles have all played host to the Olympic Games, now Coventry will join the list of great sporting hosts, as it presents the second UK School Games.


In an exciting twist it has been announced that Olympic gold medallist Daley Thompson will open the second UK School Games at the spectacular ice show opening ceremony tonight. A spokesperson for the games said: ‘We’re very excited, Daley is always very entertaining!’


Thompson is one more sporting star added to a long list who have shown their support for the youth sports initiative, including Dame Kelly Holmes, badminton star Gail Emms and sprint legend Jason Gardener.


The games, which begin today at the University of Warwick, is a multi-sport event for the most talented young people in the country under 17 years old. 4 x 100m Olympic Gold medallist Jason Gardener said: ‘I really do believe that the future will be on display here, I will also watch out for not just the winners but people that come second or third, just on the fringes, looking at their techniques because that’s where you can see raw talent.'


Designed to replicate the feel of a major sporting event such as the Olympics, athletes will be competing in Athletics, Badminton, Fencing, Gymnastics, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis and Volleyball. Gardener, who’s first multi sporting event was the Commonwealth Games, noted how important it is for young athletes to get a taste of professional sporting atmospheres, ‘it was straight in at the deep end really for me. As a child, I think it would be great preparation to experience what its like to be at a major competition.’


The four day competition will hit targets for those involved in promoting competitive youth sports, participation in sport and awareness of the importance of those involved in sport.


Steve Grainger, Chief executive of youth sports trust said: (the games) promote comradeship in terms of 1300 athletes coming together, in excess of 500 volunteers, young volunteers, local Coventry volunteers and technical officials coming together for a real big celebration.'


The Games, will begin with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Skydome Arena tonight evening and finish with a closing ceremony at Warwick University on Sunday night. The young competitors will stay in an athletes’ village and the event will be broadcast on Channel 4 from 8am to 9am on Sunday 16 and 23 September.


The Games are a priority to Councillor Ken Taylor, who said: ‘You can expect a Coventry welcome, which is a very good one, were pulling out all the stops. We want people to go home from this event and say, ‘what a great weekend we had in Coventry’.


For schedules, team lists and results visit www.ukschoolgames.com