Pupils put through their paces at the inter-school games

St Gregory the Great pupil Elyse Thomas-Collaire, right, in action against Zosia Pears, of Cherwell School

St Gregory the Great pupil Elyse Thomas-Collaire, right, in action against Zosia Pears, of Cherwell School Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

HUNDREDS of children came from all over the county to take part in a huge inter-school sports championship.

The Oxfordshire Sainsbury’s School Games Spring Festival saw about 1,800 children aged between seven and 18 compete.

Participants came from 77 schools across the county, and they threw themselves into 33 competitions in athletics, basketball, football, hockey, netball, and swimming.

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  • Bartholomew School’s Lizzie Mason takes on an opponent from North Oxon Academy

Youth sport manager at Oxfordshire Sports Partnership Richard Neal said: “It went really well, everything went to plan.

“The teams have qualified through local competitions and then these were the county finals.”

The events were held across Abingdon, including Abingdon School on Park Road, Tilsley Park, the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre and the Manor Prep School on Faringdon Road.

As well as the races and matches, there was some star quality.

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  • Great Britain hockey star Hannah Macleod shows off her bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics to pupils from Wallingford School

Oxfordshire Team GB Olympian Hannah Macleod showed her bronze medal in hockey to eager youngsters, as well as supporting the teams.

Mr Neal said: “The idea is to inspire the next generation of athletes to take up competitive sport and move into community sport.

“Every school-age child should have the opportunity to take part in competitions in their local area.

“We want children to achieve their best through sport.”

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  • There’s time to focus on the camera as these girls compete in the cross-country

One of the participating schools was St Gregory the Great Catholic School, based on Cricket Road in Oxford.

The school’s under-13 girls football team made it through to the finals.

Head of girls’ sport at the school Zoe Barnes said: “They did really well. We managed to win two matches, draw two and lose two.

“We came third overall. There were eight teams on the day, but really, because this is a county competition, we came third out of around 30 teams over Oxfordshire.”

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  • Amelia Riggott, of Rupert House School, in Henley-on-Thames, was the winner of the girls’ cross-country. She had plenty of rivals for the coveted title

Miss Barnes said she was proud of the team: “They have had a really strong season, they’ve been training for a while.

“We have a couple of very promising players.”

She added that she hoped there would be similar events in the future: “It’s really good for the youngsters to get a chance to take part competitively and actually play games against other girls.”

Herald Series:

  • At full speed in the boys' cross-country

Twelve-year-old Elyse Thomas-Collaire plays in central defence.

She said: “It was really fun. We got to see a lot of the different schools that we’d never played before.

“Some of them were quite good, it was a bit scary.”

The Blackbird Leys resident said: “We did quite well and won some of our matches. I’d like to go again next year.”

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