Children from across the district represent South Hams at the South West Youth Games

By Toby Leigh in Events

More than 100 sporty South Hams youngsters have taken part in this year’s South West Youth Games.

The event in Okehampton saw more than 1,000 six to eighteen year olds come together in district teams, to compete against neighbours from across the South West.

The event, organised by leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle and Okehampton Community Recreation Association involved able-bodied and disabled participants of all skill levels competing across 17 different sports.

More than 100 young people competed as part of the South Hams team, drawn from local schools and clubs. These included: Education South West, which manages Kingsbridge Community College, Dartmouth Academy and primaries in Blackawton, East Allington, Kingswear and Stoke Fleming; Ivybridge Junior Netball Club; Dart Hockey Club; Totnes Rugby Club; Totnes Tennis Club; and Dartington charity Lifeworks.

As well as members’ specialist sports, team South Hams also competed in athletics, cricket, gymnastics and cyclocross - a kind of cross country cycling. All teams were fighting it out for the South West Youth Games Title and Fair Play trophy – won this year by West Devon.

The South Hams team was funded by South Hams District Council and put together by Fusion, which recently took over the running of local leisure facilities across the South Hams and West Devon.

Fusion’s sport and community development officer Janica Birch said: “We are so lucky to have such an excellent group of skilled and caring coaches, clubs, schools, young leaders, and people who want to help in our community, without them, the games simply couldn’t happen.

"Many of the participants and teams train and use our leisure centres across the South West, and the games help to bring them together to celebrate the next generation of sporting talent.”

SHDC’s Jon Parkinson said: “What a fantastic location and super atmosphere.”

Event organiser and OCRA manager Stuart Lord added: “For many of the participants this would have been the first time they would have competed at an event of this magnitude – well done to all who took part. It was great to see so many smiles on the day, as well as the families who turned out to support everyone.

"We would like to thank Westcountry Services and the South West Youth Trust, who worked tirelessly to raise funds and support the event, along with all the sponsors.”

Organisation of next year’s event has already started, and anyone interested in becoming part of the South Hams team can contact [email protected] to find out more.

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