2016 School Games underway at Loughborough University
The 2016 School Games started with a bang last night at Loughborough University with a spectacular outdoor opening ceremony in Shirley Pearce Square.
The audience, which included the 1,600 young athletes, were treated to a wide array of performances from singers, dancers and choirs who took to the stage with impressive displays. The highlight of the night however was the appearances of School Games alumni and Olympic & Paralympic champions Max Whitlock, Liz Johnson and Alex Danson on stage, to rapturous applause.
Earlier in the day Whitlock led a gymnastics masterclass for some of the gymnasts who will be competing over the weekend, showing them how he trains and sharing his words of wisdom.
The double Rio 2016 Olympic champion said:
“I was reserve for the School Games just a few years ago so you guys are all already ahead of where I was at your age. My advice to you all is to take in the experience – this is a massive stepping stone towards what could potentially be your future.
“This is your mini Olympics so enjoy it, go out there and do your very best and if you make any mistakes you’ve got plenty more time, as you’re still young, so just enjoy it and take it all in.”
Loughborough University’s Executive Director for Sport, John Steele, added:
“We’re going to have an amazing couple of days of sport at Loughborough University; we’ve already had the fever of Rio and the excitement of Team GB’s achievements and it’s great to remember that a lot of the athletes – 15% in fact – started at the School Games.
“There will be plenty of stars of the future in action; we’ve already seen Max Whitlock doing a gymnastics masterclass and he started here at the School Games along with a lot of other medallists in Rio.”
The evening came to a close with a show stopping firework display and the official opening of the games performed by Max Whitlock and fellow Olympian Alex Danson.
The 1,600 competitors, who are among some of the most talented young athletes in the UK, will now contest 12 different sports, seven of which include disability disciplines.
The sports taking place are Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Rugby Sevens, Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Tennis.
Event schedules and tickets can be found here: http://www.2016schoolgames.com/
A live stream of all the action can be found here: http://www.2016schoolgames.com/watchlive/