Prince Harry named Sainsbury's School Games President
Wednesday, 09 May 2012
May 9 - Prince Harry has been named as the President of the Sainsbury's School Games on a historic day for the competition that saw the Britain's best school age athletes compete here at the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome less than 100 days before the start of London 2012.
The Games takes place across four levels with the most talented athletes ultimately progressing to the finals of the event, which this year, in the inaugural edition of the new look competition, are taking place at key London 2012 venues.
The first three days of the event, which is organised by the Youth Sport Trust, took place at ExCeL in London's Docklands, which will host several sports during London 2012, but the final day today has seen the athletes get the chance to use the three iconic venues here ahead of the Games.
The Closing Ceremony of the competition took place at the Basketball Arena where Youth Sport Trust chair Baroness Sue Campbell announced that Prince Harry will be the new President of the event.
Prince Harry (pictured above), who has previously given his backing to the Games, will be lending his support to young people involved in all four levels of the competition and highlight the role that competitive sport can play in the development of young people.
Although he was not in attendance at the event, the Prince left a special message for the young athletes that competed at the Sainsbury's School Games.
"Huge congratulations to everyone who has taken part in the inaugural School Games, but especially to those who have won," he said.
"I believe that sport can give people confidence and skills which set you up for life.
"It is so important to get outside and to keep physically and mentally fit.
"I am very honoured to become the President of the School Games."
Embattled Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt, who opened the event at ExCeL but was not in attendance today due to the Queen's Speech, praised the announcement.
"I am thrilled that Prince Harry has agreed to become President of the Sainsbury's School Games," said Hunt, who has been key in setting up the inaugural event.
"He is great sportsman in his own right and I'm sure his support and enthusiasm will be a massive inspiration to all the young people who take part in every stage of the Sainsbury's School Games."
Prime Minister David Cameron, who like Hunt was attending the Queen's Speech, also left a message for the competitors.
"Huge congratulations to all the winners, runners up and everyone who took part in the School Games Finals this week," he said.
"Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has always been the legacy, so it's brilliant to see over 12 000 schools signed up to the School Games, encouraging children to take part in competitive sport, and it's very fitting that some of these young people are amongst some of the first athletes to experience the thrill and excitement of competing at the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome and Aquatics Centre.
"Perhaps we have seen some of the great sports heroes of the future compete this week, but more importantly, I hope they will inspire many more young people to get involved in sport.
"It's a great way to mark the lead-up to the 2012 Games."
The Sainsbury's 2012 School Games saw 1,600 elite young athletes compete while around 700 officials, volunteers and support staff, the majority of who are young people, played a key roles in the event.
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