Schools in Erewash enjoyed considerable success at the 2015 Sainsbury’s Derbyshire School Games, which featured appearances by sprint stars Jonnie Peacock and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
Almost 1,000 young people attended the event at Trent College, Long Eaton, with 800 primary and secondary school children competing in 11 events across seven different sports -– golf, tennis, cycling, athletics, rounders, cricket and boccia.
Paralympian Peacock (22), who was a gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was interviewed about his rise to stardom and spoke about how he had been inspired to become an athlete after taking part in a School Games.
And Aikines-Aryeetey (26), who is a world, European and Commonwealth medallist, was just as popular among the crowds, giving a speech about the importance of having a positive, ‘can do’ attitude.
Said Peacock: “These Games are so important because it teaches the kids so many different things on so many different levels. If they can look at my journey and emulate that in any possible way, that’s going to be a huge win for me.”
Aikines-Aryeetey added: “It has been really fun, an honour to be here. I really enjoyed listening to the young people talking about their experiences in sport, watching them in action and seeing the enjoyment on their faces.”
Both athletes took part in the opening ceremony, which saw captains from each of the school sport partnerships act as flag-bearers, accompanied by athletes on the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) programme.
Another 200 young leaders volunteered as event officials, marshals and media contributors to ensure the smooth running of the event, which is the culmination of competition across the school year.
Each of the 87 teams from 58 schools taking part – from High Peak to South Derbyshire – had already excelled to get through to this stage, having qualified by winning their local area competition.
Pride of place as far as Erewash was concerned went to Long Eaton School, who won silver medals in the boccia plus event. The school also took seventh spot in the rounders.
There was strong representation from Kirk Hallam Community Technology and Sports College, who were fifth in the cricket plus, sixth in the QuadKids athletics secondary and seventh in the cyclo-cross/grass-track cycling secondary events.
Ilkeston’s Chaucer Junior School also had three teams competing, finishing sixth in the cyclo-cross/grass-track primary, ninth in the tri-golf and ninth in the mini-tennis.
Shardlow Primary were the final Erewash school to be involved, finishing eighth in the QuadKids athletics primary competition.
Other well-known sportsmen and women to show their support at the Derbyshire Sport-led event were nine-time Paralympic swimming medallist Martin Mansell, Paralympic footballer Leon Taylor and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, clay shooter Caroline Povey.