Sunderland boy takes part in Sainsbury’s School Games

Joshua Waddell
Joshua Waddell
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A Sunderland boy is taking part in this week’s Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester

Joshua Waddell, 12, will be one of, 1,600 athletes taking part in this year’s games.

The Venerable Bede Academy pupil will represent England in wheelchair fencing.

Twelve sports, seven of which include disability disciplines, will be contested at the four-day spectacular from Thursday, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.

Joshua will be following in the footsteps of some of Britain’s biggest sporting stars including Paralympic champions Hannah Cockroft, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, world-record breaking swimmer Adam Peaty, heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, World Junior Champion heptathlete and high jumper Morgan Lake and sprinter Adam Gemili, who all competed at the School Games before going on to elite success with Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

Joshua will live in the Athletes’ Village, attend the opening and closing ceremonies and perform in front of a crowd of thousands.

He said: “I feel very proud to have been selected to represent my country at this year’s Sainsbury’s School Games. I feel that all my hard work over the last five years has paid off.

“My aim is to fence to the best of my ability and to take in the atmosphere of competing at such a big event.”

Alongside the athletes there will be 400 young volunteers bringing the Games to life.

Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said: “The Sainsbury’s School Games continue to go from strength to strength and I am pleased to see so many young athletes embracing this fantastic opportunity to showcase their talents.”

Sport England Director of Community Sport Mike Diaper said: “The Sainsbury’s School Games is a fantastic event, launching the careers of some of our brightest sporting stars.

“This event is an amazing opportunity for our next generation of aspiring athletes to compete against one another in a fun environment.” while also experiencing what it’s like to be part of a major multi-sport event. Congratulations to all those who have qualified for this year’s event in Manchester, I wish you the best of luck.”

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: “The 1,500 athletes attending the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games in Manchester will discover what competing at a major multi-sport event is really like. Many sporting superstars have used the Games as a platform to elite success including the likes of Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Adam Gemili and Ellie Simmonds and we hope Joshua will be inspired to do the same.”

Sainsbury’s Sponsorship Manager Peter Ward said: “We’ve seen just how important Sainsbury’s School Games events are for young athletes, from building confidence and encouraging participation in sport, to forging the way to Olympic medals. We’re looking forward to this year’s competition and wish all the young athletes the best of luck.”