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On their marks - for commonwealth games

PUBLISHED: 00:15 12 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:55 03 March 2010

THOUSANDS of athletes will take part in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester this summer and at the same time Suffolk's young sporting talent will be showing just as much commitment to try and win top honours.

THOUSANDS of athletes will take part in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester this summer and at the same time Suffolk's young sporting talent will be showing just as much commitment to try and win top honours.

Youngsters from across the county will be taking part in a variety of activities as part of the Suffolk Youth Games being held this year.

Girls and boys, representing the seven district councils in Suffolk will compete on Sunday, July 7, at Bury St Edmunds for the annual sports festival which is sponsored by BTexact Technologies.

Last year more than 1,000 competitors took part and sports featured this year include swimming and athletics, tennis and football.

Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, patron of the games, and Stewart Davies, chief executive of BTexact Technologies, launched the programme for the Suffolk Youth Games during a special ceremony on Wednesday.

The games are part of the Sport England Active Sports programme and other events include rugby, hockey, netball, and basketball.

The aim is to introduce more young people to year round sporting activity, to join community sports clubs and achieve their sporting potential.

Mr Sheepshanks said: "The aim of the game is to encourage participation in sport, especially by girls, and by young people who are not already linked to sports clubs.

"Coaching is important in all walks of life. Ipswich Town football club is supporting girls football and in the community. More the 350 coaches and junior football managers will be trained by our coach education programme."

Brian Bagnall, mayor of Bury St Edmunds, said they were looking forward to welcoming the hundreds of young competitors to the town on July 7.

"It was a great delight to be at the last games in Ipswich. It was great to see so many children competing and taking exercise. It will make for much healthier children."

Mr Davies said BT exact's sponsorship was part of their commitment to the local community.

"It is good to see so many young athletes getting out of the blocks in Suffolk. Perhaps we will find a few more world champions."

Among the sport patrons present at the launch of the programme were British Olympic swimmer Karen Pickering, GB international runner Paul Evans, Ipswich Town WFC captain Penny Farrow, GB paralympic competitor (sailing) Kevin Curtis and England U21 hockey international James Southgate.

Pickering and fellow Ipswich Swimming Club international Zoe Cray said they were very much looking forward to attending the Suffolk Youth Games during the summer.


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