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1,300 Bristol youngsters warm-up for London 2012

Pupils at the Bristol Festival of School Sport last year

Pupils at the Bristol Festival of School Sport last year

Press release issued: 22 March 2012

Over 1,300 Bristol school children will be putting their Olympic Spirit to the test at the Bristol Festival of School Sport under the guidance of past, present and future sporting stars. This year’s three-day event, from 26 to 28 March, will see pupils from 20 of the city’s secondary schools experience the excitement of a major sporting event.

This year’s three-day event, from 26 to 28 March, will see pupils from 20 of the city’s secondary schools experience the excitement of a major sporting event.

They will also get the chance to meet athlete Jamie Cooke, who will be competing for Great Britain in the Modern Pentathlon at London 2012, and 2016 Olympic hopefuls from the University of Bristol’s High Performance squad.

Highly-acclaimed sprinter Jason Gardener MBE, who won a gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, will also be on hand to inspire participants and spot future talent.

The Festival is part of a South West regional programme called RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy for Art & Youth Sport), and is hosted by the University of Bristol with support from The John Rutley Sports Fund, Healthy Schools Bristol and the Ashton Park School Sport Partnership.

Designed to encourage sport participation and healthy living, the event targets young people to actively engage them in a range of activities they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try, from rowing to cheerleading. Pupils will also have the chance to take part in DJ workshops and zumba classes.

Over 100 volunteers and coaches from the University of Bristol will be helping to run the event, passing on their expertise in martial arts, fencing, korfball, handball, ultimate frisbee, American football, lacrosse and futsal among others.

Each school will be assigned a country to represent as they replace the format of the Olympics, competing against other nations for medals and a place on the podium. An Olympic School Spirit Trophy is also up for grabs.

Katie Corkill, RELAYS School Event Coordinator from Bristol University, said: “There’s a real buzz around sport at the moment thanks to the Olympics, so we hope the Bristol Festival of School Sport will harness everyone’s enthusiasm.

“We’re really lucky to have famous sportsmen such as Jamie and Jason on hand to show what can be achieved. We hope hundreds of youngsters will go home feeling truly inspired and motivated by sport.

“The festival reflects the aims of the RELAYS project which include actively encouraging sports participation, nurturing talent, and raising aspirations in young people. University sports leaders, staff and student ambassadors are a fantastic group of role models for this cohort of school pupils. Grassroots events such as this are a big part of the London 2012 legacy.”

Jason Gardener MBE, Olympic Champion and RELAYS Sporting Ambassador, added:  “The RELAYS Bristol Festival of School Sport is a truly fantastic event. I am inspired by the expert delivery, superb sports facilities and engagement from the pupils. Events of this quality should be available to more young people across the region.”

The Festival of School Sport takes place at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex from 9.30am to 3pm, from Monday 26 March to Wednesday 28 March 2012. The event is funded and delivered by a partnership of the following organisations: The John Rutley Sport Fund, the University of Bristol, Healthy Schools Bristol and the Ashton Park School Sport Partnership.

The Bristol Festival of School Sport has been part of the official ‘Inspired By 2012’ programme since its development in 2009.

Further information

RELAYS (Regional Education Legacy for Arts and Youth Sports)

The RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy for Arts and Youth Sport) project seeks to engage young people in the South West in sporting and cultural events in the run up to the London 2012 Games. Led by Universities South West, through a network of regional universities and cultural organisations, RELAYS aims to blend youth sport and cultural in a vibrant mixture of activities across the region in the build up to the 2012 Games. It is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity that has been set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games and HEFCE (The Higher Education Funding Council for England).

London 2012 Inspire programme

The London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the Inspire programme, recognises exceptional projects and events which have been inspired by the 2012 Games. Projects reflect the Olympic and Paralympic values. So far only a handful of projects around the UK have received this special award.

The John Rutley Sport Fund is managed by the University of Bristol and is used to develop a range of sport and activity related projects that will help young people in Bristol increase activity levels and opportunities for social inclusion.

Please contact Katie Corkill for further information.

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