Hundreds of schoolchildren will get the opportunity to tread, swim and cycle where some of the world’s best athletes will compete next year.
Under plans for the finals of the 2012 School Games, youngsters will aim for victory at four major London 2012 venues just two months before the Olympics begin.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt today revealed details of the School Games finals as he visited the Aquatics Centre - one of the sites that will host the event - alongside Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, backstroke world-record-holder Liam Tancock and London 2012 hopeful Hannah Miley. Young athletes will also go for gold at the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome and ExCel Centre.
“The 2012 School Games finals will be the largest ever event of its kind in the UK,” Mr Hunt said. “It will be an unprecedented opportunity for our young athletes to run on the Olympic track before Usain Bolt, cut through the pool before Michael Phelps, and feel the speed of the Velodrome before Victoria Pendleton.”
The Minister also revealed that Prince Harry is a supporter of the competition, adding: “As a keen sportsman himself, he will be following the progress of the School Games competitors over the coming months.”
The finals of the School Games will take place from 6 to 9 May next year and, like the Olympics and Paralympics, will feature an opening and closing ceremony.
About 1,600 young athletes are expected to compete in the finals, with round-the-clock support and advice from 700 coaches, support staff and volunteers. They will be also be cheered on by up to 35,000 spectators, with tickets being made available free of charge for family members and schools groups.
Nearly 8,000 schools have already registered for the School Games and registration for the 2012 competition will remain open until the end of the year.
The School Games is a new event which will continue after 2012, with the aim of holding the finals in the Olympic Park at regular intervals.