After a tough year and a half of lockdown restrictions, 1,300 talented young athletes have descended on Loughborough University to compete across 10 sports including disability disciplines.

In its 14th year, the National Finals will be celebrating the resilience of the young athletes as they compete on this national stage at Loughborough University Campus.

The first day did not disappoint with triathlon and hockey kicking off, the first Athlete Mentor Q&A taking place, and the evening saw the official Opening Ceremony.

Athlete Mentor Q&A

Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Holly Bradshaw, Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing and Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis star Louise Hunt met with this year’s young Wheelchair Tennis players for a Q&A.

The athletes discussed mental preparation ahead of important matches, handling pressure, and balancing life with sport.

Louise Hunt, former Paralympian and Athlete Mentor for the Youth Sport Trust, said: “It’s been a great first day here at the SGNF.

I was really impressed with the questions this year’s athletes asked Holly, Alice, and I. As successful athletes ourselves, we were able to give them lots of advice on how to use the National Finals as a springboard for their career.”

The Athlete Mentors will be holding similar workshops across the School Games National Finals, aimed at preparing the young athletes for a career in sport and beyond.

Opening Ceremony

On Thursday evening, the School Games National Finals officially began with an exciting virtual ceremony, as the athletes gathered in their sport bubbles around the Loughborough University campus.

Through the ceremony, all athletes were connected from their individual bubbles across one livestream to celebrate their achievement over the last year and a half in qualifying for the Finals.

Special guests and School Games National Finals alumni Holly Bradshaw and Alice Dearing shared their experience and advice with the athletes, particularly on how they manage being a role model. They then had the privilege to declare the ceremony open.

As the sun set on Loughborough University campus, the athletes prepare for an exhilarating full day of sport the next morning.

Make sure you follow the School Games National Finals on social media to keep up with the events of the weekend and subscribe to the Youth Sport Trust YouTube channel to livestream all events.

Catch up with the action from Day 1 here: https://wke.lt/w/s/TSHnhw 

Follow the SGNF here:

YouTube: YouthSportTrust

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Facebook: School Games

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Snapchat: @schoolgamesuk