Tyne & Wear

Former Olympian launches school games on Tyneside

Craig Heap and School children
Image caption The three day event starts on the 23 June

A former Olympian has launched the largest sporting event staged across schools on Tyneside.

Gymnast Craig Heap is fronting an event which will feature pupils competing in sports such as football, water polo, gymnastics, athletics and tennis.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist launched the Newcastle Schools 500 Games at Benfield Sports College.

The games will take place over three days in June to mark 400 days before the start of the London 2012 Games.

It will enable up to 5,000 young athletes to show off their sporting talent.

Mr Heap said: "It's very inspiring to hear how much goodwill this event already has and I'm looking forward to visiting again in June to see the some of the city's most promising young gymnasts compete against each other.

"It's been a pleasure to meet the young people at Benfield and talk to them about the games and what they want to achieve.

"This event is all about getting as many young people as possible involved."

Showcasing sport

The Schools 500 Games will be a city-wide event in which all schools can participate.

There will be 24 different sports over four different age groups and five locations over the three days.

Dave Johnson, games organiser and assistant head teacher at Benfield Sports College, said: "This is about showcasing school sport across the city.

"It's the chance for people to come forward and help us volunteer to run events, it's a chance for everyone to get behind school sport and it's a chance for thousands of children to take part in a multi-sport event which is similar to the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games.

"It's something a lot of them will never have the opportunity to take part in again."

The games claims to be the UK's largest single-authority, multi-sport event for schools.

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