STUDENTS staged colourful sporting battles for school glory in an annual ‘Olympics’ designed to forge friendships for life.

The Emmanuel Schools Foundation staged its annual sporting spectacular with Years 7-10 and sixth formers competing at hockey, rugby, football, netball, volleyball and cross-country.

Hosted this year by Trinity Academy, in Thorne, near Doncaster, the event brought together ESF’s four schools – Emmanuel College, Gateshead, The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, and Bede Academy, Blyth – in a festival of athleticism and healthy competition.

Trinity Academy executive principal Jonathan Winch told students: “You are going to play hard today, you are going to play tough, but, win or lose, you will treat each other with the utmost respect and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.”

The ESF ‘Olympics’ began 15 year ago to enhance relations among students and staff of schools geographically miles apart.

Trinity teacher Marcus Stones recalled his early memories of the first games when he was a student at Thorne Grammar School, the predecessor of Trinity Academy.

“I remember travelling to The King’s Academy and being blown away by the fantastic building, the smart uniform and the students,” he said. “We had never seen anything like it in our lives and very soon, on the side-lines, we were cheering for Trinity Academy, the school we were soon to become.”

Trinity’s head of sport and organiser of the competition Katie O’Brien added: “It’s an absolute pleasure to organise the event, to see so many sports going on and the passion students have for their chosen disciplines, all competing fiercely but in the knowledge they are part of the same family.”

The cross-country event saw the lead switching constantly throughout the competition with Emmanuel College finally pulling ahead in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions.

Netball was another ferociously contested competition finally won by Bede Academy, while in the football, The King’s Academy stole a last minute victory after a series of hotly contested matches.

Hockey was a close fought battle to the end in an atmosphere of exceptional sportsmanship that saw Bede Academy finally win through.

An intense volleyball competition saw victory go to Trinity Academy while Emmanuel College romped home in the rugby with three convincing results.

Overall the 2018 ‘Olympics’ crown went to Emmanuel College.