12:01pm Thursday 1st August 2013 in Sport
CONNOR Hetherton, a 17-year-old volleyball player from Barry, is to compete at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport (EIS) to represent Wales at the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games.
The event, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, is a major multi-sport event for the nation’s talented young athletes. It will see over 1,600 potential future sports stars competing across 12 sports between September 12 and 15, 2013.
The St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College student will have an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his sporting heroes and experience what it is like to compete in a major multi-sport event.
Paralympic Sprint Gold Medallists, Hannah Cockroft and Jonnie Peacock, Paralympic Swimming Gold Medallist, Ellie Simmonds, Olympic Bronze Gymnastics Medallists, Max Whitlock and Sam Oldham and top GB sprinter Adam Gemilli, have all been on the same journey as Hetherton and experienced competing at the high profile event before going on to sporting success at a senior level.
The four-day multi-sport event will take place in iconic venues across Sheffield, a city famed for its sporting history and home to some of the UK’s top athletes.
Alongside the competing athletes, there will be around 400 budding volunteers under 25 years old to help bring the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games to life for the young athletes, along with thousands of spectators.
A delighted Hetherton said: “It such a great feeling to get selected for the first time, it is the last year I’m eligible for the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games as well which makes it extra special.
“It’s a really prestigious competition and considering I only started playing volleyball after being inspired by the Olympics I never would have dreamed I could get selected.
“I started playing for Cardiff Celts in October and now I’ve been selected to represent Wales, it’s been an amazing few months and I want to make sure I enjoy it and play to my very best throughout.”
Sainsbury’s Active Kids ambassador, David Beckham congratulated Hetherton: “Connor should be incredibly proud of being selected to compete in the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games. To be given the chance to compete in a multi-sport event and experience a major sporting occasion like this is a huge opportunity for these young people. I wish everyone the best of luck and encourage them to enjoy every minute.”
John Steele, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “This event provides a platform for some of the most promising young athletes to gain an invaluable experience of competing in a multi sport event. Equally important to the Games are the young volunteers, officials and coaches who all play an important role in making the event so successful.”
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Director of Community Sport, said: “As we build on the success of last summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s great that the next generation of aspiring athletes are having the opportunity to compete against one another in a fun environment. Congratulations to all those who have qualified for the finals of this year’s Sainsbury’s School Games in Sheffield.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller said: “The School Games competition is giving young people of all abilities the chance to get involved and play a variety of sports. Many congratulations to all those who have been selected to take part in this year’s finals, the very best of luck and I’m sure we will discover some sporting stars to look out for in the future.”
The Sainsbury’s School Games is set across four levels with the Sheffield event providing the top tier of sporting competition. Across the year young people also compete in a range of sport at class-v-class, school-v-school and in county wide sport festivals.
The Sainsbury’s School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Association.
To find out more about the Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games visit: www.2013schoolgames.com.