Even more sports on offer as Youth Games returns for 10th edition

Organisers of the 10th Specsavers Youth Games are looking forward to their biggest and hopefully best edition yet.

They have announced an extensive programme of 23 sports for the biennial schools’ event – another three on top of the previous record offering in 2021.

Skateboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, gymnastics and padel tennis provide tempting new options.

The Sports Commission’s Nicky Will, who is serving as the Youth Games co-ordinator, has described the range of choices as ‘incredible’.

‘The children are really lucky to have such a breadth of sports they can choose from,’ she said.

‘We as the Sports Commission are really lucky that so many sports want to be involved. They give their time for the future... because they all want to encourage children to enjoy their sport.’

The Youth Games children in Years 5 and 6 to try a sport that they do not normally take part in.

They will train up to represent their teams at the all-important Games Day on 20 May, with points in each sport contributing to a final overall score.

Sports Commission staff and Amherst Junior School students at the Specsavers Youth Games launch. Left to right: Nikki Palmer (Sports Commission), Tori Le Cheminant, Nicola Gibbons (Specsavers), Evalyn Saunders, Arthur Bowden, Riley Le Poidevin, Charlie King, Nicky Will (Sports Commission). (Picture by Jamie Ingrouille, 31728198)

But this year’s event will depart from the usual formula of ‘district’ teams and instead pay homage to the upcoming Guernsey 2023 NatWest International Island Games. Children will instead be able to represent one of six teams named after some of the islands set to compete in July.

‘I’m really excited, because two years ago we had such a fantastic day and [it was great] to see how all the children enjoyed it and what they got out of learning a new sport,’ Will added.

She highlighted the example of record-smashing sprinter Abi Galpin, who started athletics through the Youth Games.

‘We could find the next Abi Galpin, or we could find the next Guernsey ladies’ rugby player.

‘With the Island Games being six weeks after the Youth Games, hopefully we can build on the momentum and excitement about sport going on in the summer.’

Notably, this year is also the first that Alderney students will be able to take part in the Games festivities, with six different sports they can choose from.

Specsavers co-founder Dame Mary Perkins hopes that the event will continue to inspire a new generation of athletes.

‘We are really proud to be able to continue our support of the Specsavers Youth Games which we can’t believe is now in its 10th year,’ she said.

‘The atmosphere at the Games is always electric and the smiles on the children’s faces remind me what this event is all about – encouraging and nurturing sport among our young people in Guernsey, building their confidence, having fun and giving them a chance to make new friends.’

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