On 6 September, four athletes from Merseyside won medals at the UK’s biggest multi-sport event for talented young athletes between the ages of 13 to 18 years old.
The Schools Games National Finals is a four-day event that is delivered by children’s charity, Youth Sport Trust in partnership with National Governing Bodies of Sport.
The event saw over 1000 aspiring athletes compete across ten sports, four of which include disability disciplines.
The School Games National Finals provides a competitive pathway designed to prepare the next generation of Commonwealth Games champions with former alumni including athletes Ellie Simmonds, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Joe Fraser.
This year witnessed records broken and prospects announced to the world.
Michael Jenkins, 17, from Pembrokeshire, Wales, secured gold with a 61.19m throw in F38 discus, which would be a para world record in a professional setting.
It also saw Noah Hanson, 16, from Leytonstone, England, achieve gold in the 100m hurdles with the second fastest all time run in the under-17 category with 12.61 seconds.
Meanwhile, in Merseyside, three young people from Merseyside achieved a gold.
Josh Redmond from Liverpool and Gabrielle Phelan from Wirral, both 16, earned their golds in the athletics category.
Sophie Morris, 18, from Wirral, also achieved a gold in cricket.
15-year-old Niamh Le’Gall from Wallasey also achieved a bronze in athletics.
As part of the Athlete Education Programme, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. gold medallists Hannah Cockroft OBE and Nathan Maguire also gave advice to young athletes.
They suggested how to compete at an elite level in major competitions and shared their experiences of how the event helped them to build friendships for life.
Michael Kapur Esq OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, helped to congratulate athletes during official medal presentations.
The competition provides real-life scenarios on how to cope under pressure while being away from home, as well as taking part in mock press conferences and drug testing through UKAD to highlight the importance of competing clean.
In the athlete lounge, competitors from multiple regions were offered the chance to try yoga, build friendships and meet others who shared their passion.
Joe Fraser, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and School Games National Finals alumni, said: “Competing at the UK School Games was a really important moment in my career.
“Being able to be a part of a multi-sport environment at such a young age is a fantastic opportunity and the lessons learned have definitely helped shaped me.
“The chance to be around other athletes and support staff was beneficial and the platform the School Games National Finals gives young sportspeople is a brilliant environment to develop and thrive in.”
He added: “We are determined to extend this to inspire and reach more young people so that they can fulfil their potential and see the benefits of competing not just in sports but in preparing them for life too.”
You can find out more about the School Games National Finals here.
For highlights of the event, you can go to the Youth Sport Trust website and YouTube channel here.