Over 2,000 school pupils from across Greater Manchester gathered at The Regional Athletics Arena on Tuesday morning for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Greater Manchester’s Winter School Games.
The event, which is organised by Greater Sport, saw the winners from the ten local boroughs battle against each other in their chosen sport to become Greater Manchester champions.
CBBC presenter Lauren Layfield delivered the Opening Ceremony with special guests including Wigan singer, Jake Mckechnie, who reached the finals on The Voice Kids 2017.
Tameside was heavily represented on the day, with the following schools all hoping to claim a piece of silverware:
– Hollingworth Primary School
– Samuel Laycock
– St Thomas Moor
– Oasis Academy Broadoak
– St John’s C of E Primary School Dukinfield
– St John Fisher RC Primary School
– Alder Community High School
– Manchester Road Primary Academy
– Godley Primary School
– Russell Scott Primary School
– Canon Burrows C of E Primary School
– Audenshaw School
– Fairfield High School for Girls
– Droylsden Academy
– Yew Tree Primary School
While every school competed valiantly in a number of different sports, ranging from indoor athletics and netball right through to swimming and handball, Hollingworth Primary School and Oasis Academy Broadoak took the honours of the day, claiming gold medals in the Year 5/6 Mini Basketball competition and Year 5/6 Pop Lacrosse Plate Competition respectively.
A further two Tameside schools won medals on the day, as Manchester Road Primary School returned with a silver in the Year 5/6 Pop Lacrosse Plate competition, as did Audenshaw School in the Year 7/8 Boys Swimming event.
During the event, a sports journalists from the Tameside Reporter caught up with Greater Sport development manager Karen Broomhead, who explained just how much planning goes into the competition: “We have a project team working on it all year, and we already have plans in place for July’s event” said Karen.
“The whole team were out and about the day before the event, branding the venues, dropping off the sandwiches for our volunteers, and making sure people were welcomed and greeted, so it’s a pretty big task.”
Karen heaped praise on the army of volunteers who make the event possible. She added: “The volunteers are amazing; without them the events wouldn’t happen.
“We’ve actually got 150 young volunteers, so they’re from schools across Greater Manchester, although they’re not competing but they do make the event possible. They’ve undergone training beforehand to make sure that they’re ready for today – they’re brilliant.”
Russell Scott Primary School represented the borough in the Indoor Athletics event for a fifth year running. Headteacher Steve Marsland said he was proud to be involved once again. “They’ve done really well again” said Marsland of his pupils’ efforts.
“It takes all kinds and it takes a bit of bravery as well. We’ve represented Tameside at the Games for the past five years, and we came fourth last year. We were hoping to get in and amongst the medals but we were pipped by just a few points. There are some fantastic athletes, but if you don’t put yourself against the best then you’ll never find out.”
Although Headteacher Marsland is always keen on filling up the trophy cabinet at Clare Street, he reiterated the importance of encouraging children to take up sport in general. “We want the children to compete and join in and have a great time. The atmosphere here is always fantastic, and that’s conducive to people taking part in sport, keeping healthy and having a great time in doing so.”
The Civic Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Joyce Bowerman, said she was thrilled to be at an event which showcased the best of Tameside. “I’ve just seen some fantastic athletics from Russell Scott and Godley. The exercise is fantastic for the children, and it’s so important because there are so many distractions such as video games and social media, so it’s a challenge to get them outside and play. Seeing them compete today is really encouraging and it’s really good for them.”
Attention will now turn to the Greater Manchester Summer School Games, which will take place across Sport City in July.