Today will see the island school pupils go head to head competing in sport as the Specsavers’ Youth Games enters its eighth year.
The Guernsey Sports Commission has invited all year 5 and 6 pupils across the island to take part in one of the 17 available sporting activities.
This year, three new sports are on offer for the children to partake in. The Guernsey Sports Commission hopes that the introduction of judo, petanque and softball will encourage students to experiment with sports they are unfamiliar with as well as help the children learn new skills.
The various sporting events start off from 09:00 with the grand finale this afternoon.
Attendees and athletes will enjoy a live samba band and gymnastics display from 14:30 before the day culminates in the closing presentation ceremony at 15:00 and finally a parade.
Since the very first games in 2005, more than 3000 children have taken part in the Youth Games, with more than 550 children who took part last year trying out new sports.
Pictured above and top: Some of today's competitors in action.
Youth Games Coordinator Andrea Lord says that the Games helps build confidence and develop vital skills which can be utilised later in life.
The primary goal of the event is to allow children to experience the value of sport and physical activity, placing a deep emphasis on team spirit, fun and fair play.
“This is an opportunity for young people to take part in a large-scale and exciting event. It will encourage them to establish new friendships, build their confidence and improve social and life skills, while getting free access to a new sport,” said Mrs Lord.
In order to learn as much as possible about each sport, coaching sessions have been taking place over the last six weeks prior to this weekend’s games.
The Sports Commission believes that the event can be beneficial for the future of sport on the island, with young people being more inclined to take up activities and train to higher levels.
“Last Youth Games, we had Gaelic Football; someone messaged me the next day to say they had five new people turn up to the next training session. There are a few young people as well that have carried on with their sport and done really well,” said Jenny Murphy, the Sports Development Officer for the Guernsey Sports Commission.
“It’s about giving them the opportunity to do something that’s really easy, on their doorstep and free. A lot of it is youth work as well, there’re a lot of young people that don’t have adult support in their life, so they just want to have a chat with someone or have those people to build those relationships,” explained Mrs Murphy.
Pictured: Jenny Murphy.
Each team district has been assigned a coach who is responsible for that particular group of children throughout both their training preparation and on the final day itself. In an attempt to encourage and foster community links, Deputies from each of the six districts will also lead their respective teams:
Specsavers continue to support the Youth Games, making the biennial event a real standout day in the island’s sporting calendar.
“The atmosphere two years ago was electric and the smiles on the children’s faces made me realise what this event is all about – encouraging and nurturing sport among our young people in Guernsey, building their confidence, having fun and a chance for them to make new friends,” said Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins.
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