There was an ‘electric atmosphere’ at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Morpeth for the 2014/15 Northumberland sportshall athletics finals.
The town’s middle schools did very well on both days, with teams from Chantry Middle School and Technology College and Newminster Middle School and Technology College winning gold medals.
All of the teams had taken part in six Northumberland School Games Area heats and qualified to represent their area in the county finals.
This annual event is organised by the Northumberland Athletics Network, Active Northumberland and the Northumberland School Games Organisers – the competitions form part of the Northumberland School Games programme.
It is part of a national programme designed to engage thousands of children to inspire them to play more sport and the day is also designed to give every school and child the opportunity to participate in competitive sport, including meaningful opportunities for disabled youngsters.
Vision for Education Ltd also came on board to provide much-needed sponsorship.
Hemant Desai, Northumberland Athletics Network officer, said: “More than 400 schoolchildren from various schools around the county were able to experience a highly enjoyable programme of events.
“Talented youngsters from each County Schools Games area competed against each other in various running, jumping and throwing activities.
“This well-established annual indoor sportshall athletics event now provides them with their first taste of the fun and excitement of track-and-field events in a safe environment.
“This year, we were indebted to excellent help from the Young Sports Leaders at King Edward VI School, Morpeth, who helped with setting up of the athletics equipment, officiating and assisted the athletes during the track-and-field events.
“We would also like to thank all four of the Northumberland Athletics Network member clubs, who provided volunteer athletics coaches to help run the competition, those involved from Active Northumberland and the Schools Games Organisers.
“Since the 2012 London Olympic Games, this event has created a long-term legacy for the sport, helping the next generation to stay healthy and active and hopefully unearth even more champions along the way.
“The standard of competition has improved significantly over the last three years. The sportshall indoor athletics programme, with its continued success and contribution to the experience of so many of the young athletes involved, is a testament to its format and the experience, drive and determination of the team behind its delivery.”
The first finals day was the primary age group between six schools (year groups 5 and 6) of 30 girls and boys combined teams.
They were as follows: James Calvert Spence College (Amble), Newminster Middle (Morpeth), Ovingham Middle (Prudhoe), Shanklea Primary (Cramlington), St Bede’s Primary (Bedlington) and St Paul’s RCVA Middle (Alnwick).
Gold went to the Newminster team, who proved to be too strong after clocking up an impressive total score of 232 points with wins in 11 of the 24 events.
The silver medals went to Ovingham (192 points) and the bronze medals were awarded to St Bede’s (166 points).
The second finals day was for the secondary age groups. These competitions were between teams of eight athletes from six area winning schools.
There were four separate competitions for U12 Boys, U12 Girls, U13 Boys and U13 Girls teams. In total, ten different Northumberland schools provided the finalists.
The top three in each category were as follows – U12 Boys: 1 Ovingham Middle (170 points), 2 Newminster Middle (146 points), 3 Seahouses Middle (123 points); U12 Girls: 1 Chantry Middle (158 points), 2 Ovingham Middle (144 points), 3 Whytrig Middle School in Seaton Delaval (133 points); U13 Boys: 1 Ovingham Middle (143 points), 2 Newminster Middle (141 points), 3 Bede Academy Blyth and St Paul’s RCVA Middle (both schools achieved 133 points); U13 Girls: 1 Chantry Middle (167 points), 2 Ovingham Middle (161 points), 3 James Calvert Spence College (130 points).
All teams were awarded certificates of achievement by Northumberland County councillor Val Tyler and Becky Treweek, assistant branch manager (Primary) of Vision for Education Ltd.
They said: “An electric atmosphere was created by fantastic team spirit and the cheering of enthusiastic supporters at both finals days.
“It was fascinating to watch all the talented pupils tackle exciting relay races and challenging field events comprising of long, triple and vertical jumps, shot put and speed bounce.”
Anyone interested in taking part in athletics can call Mr Desai on 01670 622176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org