They could be our future Olympians
ON the day that concerns were raised about the lack of strenuous sporting activity in schools, Notts youngsters got firmly into the competitive spirit.
The Notts School Games were held at five venues, with pupils testing themselves in sports including athletics, basketball, badminton, futsal and trampolining, as well as disabled events.
The 900 youngsters were divided into teams depending on borough or district.
After an opening ceremony at the University of Nottingham Sports Centre featuring dance groups, it was down to the sporting action.
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Some competitors remained at the centre while others headed to four other venues – the Lee Westwood Sports Centre at Nottingham Trent University, the Wildcats Arena and the University of Nottingham's Sutton Bonington and Jubilee campuses.
It came as disputes were taking place among school leaders about the standard of PE lessons following a critical report by watchdog Ofsted.
But youngsters had their minds fixed on the competition. Old Basford Primary pupil Kian Blackman, 11, was representing the city in athletics.
He said: "I'm in the sprint. I like running and I'm confident I can do well. I really want to be like [Jamaican sprinter] Yohan Blake."
Fellow sprinter, Remar Bent, 11, said: "I'm confident I can win. Running is good fun. I like competing against people from other areas."
Hucknall's National Academy students Tia Duh, 12, and Natalie Saxton, 11, were also in the athletics events at the university sports centre.
Tia (triple jump, sprints and vertical jump) said: "It's good fun. I liked watching Usain Bolt in the Olympics and want to be able to run like him."
Natalie was taking part in relay races among other events. She said: "It is good to be able to run against people from other areas. It gives you experience of real events."
Five miles away at the Lee Westwood Sports Centre in Clifton, the badminton was equally competitive.
Holly Fothersgill, 13, of Samworth Church Academy in Mansfield, lost her match but was happy to be taking part.
She said: "I lost but it was still fun and I can also support everyone else."
Sophie Brecknock, 13, also of Samworth Academy, said: "It's good because it keeps you healthy."
Simon Starr, director of Sport Nottinghamshire, said: "We could be watching future Olympians and Paralympians here. It's great to be able to let them take part in competitive sport. The experience will be very good for them."
A summer event will be held in July.