This year’s Sainsbury’s School Games, which sees the countries best U17 and young Paralympic athletes compete in a huge variety of sports, will be held over the weekend of September 4-7 at a variety of venues in Manchester.
Included in the programme for the event is a full track and field programme, which usually takes place over the Saturday and Sunday. This year’s athletics venue will be the Manchester Regional Arena, known locally as Sportscity, currently home to Sale Harriers and located next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
Last year’s athletics action came from the iconic Don Valley stadium and was the last competition at the facility before it was destroyed later in the year. The team from the South East triumphed followed closely by the Midlands and Scottish squads, and, despite the poor weather conditions, many championship records were broken.
The Sainsbury’s School Games are recognised as the premier sporting competition for the country’s young athletes as only the top competitors in each event are picked. Many of Team GB’s Olympic and world championship stars have launched their careers there, and, for many, it is the first time they experience the atmosphere and facilities found at major competitions, including an athletes’ village, advice and education on anti-doping and opening and closing ceremonies. The games are a team event but individual winners are presented with medals.
Sainsbury’s also provide all athletes with kit, food and drink whilst at the event. The supermarket has taken on support of the games in recent years, as well as sponsoring many top-class athletics meetings in the UK including the Anniversary Games Diamond League fixture. Prime Minister David Cameron has also pledged to continue government funding of the games until 2020 if his party remains in power. Other organisations such as Sport England, Youth Sport Trust and the British Paralympic Association also support the games.
Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, said: “Manchester is a city famed for its passion for sport and I am sure it will host a fantastic Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games. It will give our young sporting talent a real platform to shine as well as encouraging volunteering. I am sure the venues will be packed out and the city will give competitors from right across the country a warm welcome.”