Two hundred and fifty sports mad youngsters have been keeping the spirit of the 2012 London Olympics alive at an inaugural inter-school athletics event in the North-East.
Thanks to sponsorship from Cestria community housing association and Durham County Council, the children – drawn from 14 local primary schools in the Chester-le-street area – have been going for gold at the town’s Riverside Athletics Track.
Hosted by Durham and Chester-le-Street School Sport Partnership, the event was staged as part of an athletics programme under the 2012 Olympics legacy plan.
As part of the programme a series of workshops was held at the participating schools, during which children from years 5 and 6 were taught communication, leadership and team working skills to enable them to become sports leaders.
The sports leaders were then involved in a series of athletics trials to select the teams that would represent their school.
And it was these teams – drawn from years 3 and 4 – who went head-to-head at the Riverside.
There they competed in multiple disciplines, including the long jump, a sprint and mini hurdles to find the best teams in each year group, as well as the best sporting individuals and the best team overall.
There was also a chance to have a go at some fun activities including riding a smoothy maker bike and throwing some hula hoop shapes with the Hoopstarz – a Kidz R Fit initiative, based in Felling, Gateshead.
Parents weren’t forgotten either, with healthy eating workshops staged by the Canny Kitchen.
Durham county councillor for Chester-le-Street North, Coun. Tracie Smith, said: “Everyone was cheering the children on – the teachers, the parents. It was great to see them all so involved and to see the friendly rivalry between the schools.
“This event really ticked all the boxes – with Cestria and the county council giving these children the opportunity to take part in a brilliant event and at the same time promoting the message about healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.”
Cestria’s community involvement officer, Paul Hadden, said: “Seeing 250 children come together to take part in sport was just fantastic; the atmosphere was brilliant and not only did they have fun, but they also learnt what it means to be part of a team and what it takes to be a team leader.
“There were some promising sporting performances too, even at this young age, so who knows, we may have just witnessed some of the Olympic stars of the future.”
As well as funding from Cestria, the event received sponsorship from the county council’s Chester-le-Street Area Action Partnership.