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£10m project to 'revive' competitive sport

From: www.leisureoppertunities.com
Date: 28 June 2010

A new Olympic and Paralympic-style competition for young people across England has been launched by the government as part of efforts to 'revive' competitive sports in schools.

Sport England will distribute up to £10m of Lottery funding to help create a sports league structure for primary and secondary schools, which will lead to a national final to be held in the run up to the 2012 London Games.

The competition, which has been unveiled by education secretary Michael Gove and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, forms part of efforts to create a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympics and maximise opportunities for all.

Schools will compete against each other in local leagues starting in 2011, with successful athletes and teams qualifying for up to 60 county finals. The most talented performers would then be selected for national finals.

The proposals will also encourage schools to organise in-house Olympic-style events to ensure children of all abilities have the chance to compete, with Paralympic elements to cater for disabled young people.

Hunt said: "I want to give a real boost to competitive sport in schools using the power of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games to encourage young people - whatever age or ability - to take part in this new competition.

"Competitive sport - whether you win or lose - teaches young people great lessons for life. It encourages teamwork, dedication and striving to be the best that you can be. This will be a key part of our drive to leave a real lasting sports legacy from London's games."

Gove added: "We need to revive competitive sport in our schools. Fewer than a third of school pupils take part in regular competitive sport within schools, and fewer than one in five take part in regular competition between schools. The School Olympics give us a chance to change that for good."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are working alongside the British Olympic Association, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust on the competition, with further details to be released later this year.

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