Handsworth Schoolympics celebrates local school sports heroes with its very own Closing Ceremony
• Medals awarded to young winners, certificates for participating schools
• Closing ceremony attracts star appearances
Handsworth Association of Schools (HAS) represents 31 schools and is a registered charity based in Handsworth, Birmingham. It has worked with local schools throughout the Summer to host the Handsworth Schoolympic Games. To mark the end of the Handsworth Games and present the winners and runners up with their medals, the HAS charity hosted an official Closing Ceremony.
Over 2,800 children from 24 schools across Handsworth took part in the Handsworth Schoolympics, competing in a number of sports including football, hockey, badminton and gymnastics. This has been part of National School Games Programme driven by a number of government department as part of the sports strategy . The children had their own mascot, “Whistle” who cheered them on throughout and taught them the value of healthy eating and keeping fit.
Whistle is part of ‘Lunchtime Heroes’, a positive behaviour initiative to improve lunch time experiences in primary schools.
The Closing Ceremony, attended by the young sporting heroes and their teachers , also saw a special guest appearance from Handsworth Games mascot Whistle and Jarryd Dunn, an athlete from Birchfield Harriers and Winner of The British Universities & Colleges Championships 400m . Also attending was Ben Smoldon who is a local hero in his own right and was a torch bearer for the Para olympics. A special ceremonial cake was made for the occasion and a number of specially designed medals and certificates were awarded.
Jo Nightingale, Sports Development Director from Hamstead Hall school who has been seconded to the HAS charity, said: “The 2012 Olympics were a huge success and it’s wonderful to have been able to bring them to life for so many local children in our very own Handsworth Games. We’re thrilled to have worked with so many fantastic schools, pupils and teachers on this initiative, and what better way to finish it off than with our very own Handsworth Olympic Closing Ceremony!”
Cath Hannon, independent candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner also attended the Closing Ceremony and spent her childhood in Handsworth. She added: “The team at HAS continues to deliver outstanding work with the local community and the Handsworth Schoolympics is a fantastic example of the lasting positive impact they’ve made to the children and schools. The charity has lit the spirit of motivation, endurance and being the best you can be in every young competitor that took part in the games.
Ben Smoldon said’ “The children have inspired me to keep the Olympic spirit going in society and communities. My role as a torch bear was a tiny part of the Games but one that made me immensely proud and honored to have been selected. These youngsters are the future and I have really enjoyed the event today.”
A number of pupils who took part in the games have been identified for their outstanding talents and will be taking part in further high profile sporting activities.