The Blackpool Youth Games 2019 celebrated another fantastic year of school sport throughout last week.
The five-day sporting extravaganza made up of 26 events coincided with National School Sport Week.
The week began as 220 talented young athletes headed for Stanley Park for the primary school athletics competition. The noise levels from the children must have scared the anticipated poor weather away.
The fast-paced morning came to a close with the 4 x 100m relay races that offered double points to provide an extra incentive.
Attention turned to the primary school High 5 Netball festival and the secondary school girls’ cricket competitions.
The netball took place in Stanley Park and saw over 150 budding players taking to the court to put their passing and shooting to the test. The event was delivered as part of the school sport development programme that is designed to introduce new children to a series of sports.
Across Stanley Park, girls aged 11-15 stepped on to the pitches of Blackpool Cricket Club in the SPAR Lancashire School Games qualifying competition for players in years 7/8 and the BYG competition for those in years 9/10.
The largest event of every BYG rounded off day one as the primary school road race took place within Stanley Park. Almost 200 runners aged 5-7 completed their course, while races for boys and girls in years 3/4 and 5/6 took place in the evening sunshine. A grand total of 536 children took part in the road race, the highest number in the event’s history.
Blackpool Youth Games relies heavily on the support of young leaders and this year was no different as an army of volunteers from Blackpool Sixth worked alongside the team from Sport Blackpool in a range of roles that included officiating, admin duties, coaching and presenting.
Day two saw almost 300 children split across the primary school girls’ football festival in Stanley Park and the primary school cricket skills festival at Blackpool Cricket Club. The football event had a focus on teamwork, encouragement and dedication. The development award was presented to Devonshire Primary Academy.
The cricket festival was delivered in partnership with Lancashire Cricket Foundation as part of the AllStars programme designed to engage children in cricket from an early age.
The ever-popular primary school aqua splash fun gala that afternoon meant it was time to unleash the inflatable turtles and the inflatable ostriches who were making their debut appearance. Ball relays, rubber rings, sea-horses, surf boards and rookie lifeguards challenges added to the fun at Palatine Leisure Centre.
The action at Blackpool Sports Centre was considerably dryer as the secondary boys’ Dodgeball took place organised by South Shore Academy. That evening six girls’ football teams battled it out on the 3G pitches.
On day three, Blackpool Cricket Club was once again the scene for some amazing primary school cricket as the year six boys took over, while a new partnership with Fylde RUFC resulted in a primary school rugby skills festival in Stanley Park, where 120 young players took their first steps into the world of rugby union. Ball-handling, passing and try-scoring challenges got the event off to a fast start before tag matches enabled the children to show off their skills.
Over at Highfurlong School, the primary MATP celebration event was taking place as children from the host school and Marton Primary showcased key elements of the Motor Activity Training Programme.
Devonshire Primary Academy hosted the primary mixed cricket at Blackpool CC, while Stanley Park geared up for the secondary girls’ rounders. In the year seven girls’ event, the PE team from Aspire Academy kept a close eye on the action.
A volleyball competition for years 9/10 boys brought the third day to a close.
Day four started with the year six girls’ cricket and the primary boys’ football, which involved 160 players in front of a great crowd of family and friends. The focus was on player values rather goals.
At Tee Time Golf Centre, the secondary boys’ Foot-Golf competition brought the key stages three and four events to a close as St Mary’s retained their title.
BYG is the highlight of the year for Sport Blackpool as it provides an opportunity to watch our younger generations being physically active while having fun. The importance of being active and embracing a healthy mind and body can’t be overestimated.
The final day saw the younger participants heading for Stanley Park for the key stage one multi-skills festival in which 170 children aged five to seven completed a series of fun challenges in the sunshine. This began with the Baby Shark as the children performed song actions, followed by relay races, stuck in the mud, treasure chest, tails, athletics and gateway games.
A quieter atmosphere was evident in the sports halls for the primary table tennis festival, in which 60 young players completed a series of challenges and fixtures, most of them picking up a bat for the first time.
The curtain fell on BYG2019 with the mixed primary football and primary badminton festivals. Some 200 children were split across the two events to give BYG2019 a perfect send-off as we had goals galore in the sunshine outside and speedy shuttlecocks indoors.
Dave Rohman, Blackpool School Games Organiser, said: “It’s hard to sum up Blackpool Youth Games in a few words as it means so much to the children taking part. We work so hard throughout the year to make sure we get BYG right. It is a time for celebration and a chance for many of our children to represent their school for the first time, which is such a special moment.
“I would like to send a great big thank you out to all of the BYG family and can’t wait to work with them all again at BYG2020.”
Chris Knight from Blackpool Sports Centre added: “It was great to see so many children come together to participate. There was a great atmosphere around the centre, which put a smile on everybody’s face.”
The full list of winners
Primary School Athletics: Large Schools, Stanley; Medium Schools, St John Vianney; Small schools, Holy Family
Primary School Road Race:
Years 3/4 Boys’, Liam, Anchorsholme
Years 3/4 Girls’, Polly, Stanley
Years 5/6 Boys’ Liam, Stanley
Years 5/6 Girls’, Gabriella, Holy Family
Primary School Girls’ Football: Devonshire
Primary School Boys’ Cricket: Waterloo
Primary School Mixed Cricket: Anchorsholme
Primary School Boys’ Football: Gateway
Primary School Girls’ Cricket: Moor Park
Secondary School Girls’ Cricket:
Years 7/8 South Shore Academy,
Years 9/10 St Mary’s
Secondary School Boys’ Dodgeball: Montgomery
Secondary School Girls’ Football: Armfield Academy
Secondary School Girl’s Rounders: Montgomery
Secondary School Boys’ Volleyball: St Mary’s
Secondary School Boys’ Foot-Golf: St Marys
Primary School Netball = 153 participants
Primary School Key Stage 1 Fun Run = 177
Primary School Key Stage 1 Cricket Skills = 140
Primary School Aqua Splash = 138
Primary School MATP Celebration Event = 38
Primary School Rugby Skills = 120
Primary School Dodgeball = 150
Primary School Key Stage 1 Multi-Skills = 170
Primary School Table Tennis = 60
Primary School Mixed Football = 150
Primary School Badminton = 48