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School games finals returns after three years

By schoolsportmag2, Aug 9 2021 02:10PM

Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust has announced the return of The School Games National Finals, the UK’s biggest youth multi-sport event, next month after a three-year hiatus.

One thousand three hundred young athletes will return to the four-day finals on September 2 at Loughborough University.

Young people will compete in ten sports across the event, four of which include disability competition - athletics, BMX, cycling, triathlon, hockey, netball, laser run, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and girls’ cricket.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics GB squad features more than 80 School Games National finals alumni, including Adam Peaty, Dina Asher-Smith, Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Will Roberts, chief operating officer of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “It has been a huge achievement by all involved to see the return of this year’s School Games National Finals and I am incredibly proud of the innovation that has happened to ensure a generation of talented young people have the opportunity to compete with other athletes across the UK.

“This year, alongside all the excitement of the competition and the values our athletes will learn through the triumphs and tribulations, we will have a heavy focus on athlete wellbeing. It has been a historical moment in time following the Olympics with athletes choosing to protect mental health above competition and there are lessons to be learned.

“It is important to us that we provide young people with the key coping mechanisms and experiences they need to take on the world stage and be happy and healthy.”

Steps have been taken to ensure the event will be Covid safe in a post pandemic world. including the appointment of one of Wimbledon 2021’s team doctors Natasha Beach, working with local public health officials, testing and temperature checks for all athletes and event staff on site, social distancing and athlete bubbles, spectators replaced with live streams of the action, and mask wearing.

Dr Beach said: “I am really excited to have joined the School Games National Finals event team and I am looking forward to leading the development of the protocols in place to ensure that all the young athletes who will compete in just a few weeks’ time have the best and safest experience possible.

“Having worked as a Covid medical officer at events like The Hundred, Vitality Netball Super League and Wimbledon Junior Qualifying, it is great to see the innovation from the world of sport that is taking place as we come out of the pandemic and get back to competition.”