Teanna Mills, a fifteen-year-old volleyball player from Ballymoney, is to compete at Olympics venue ExCel ahead of the world’s greatest athletes after being selected to represent Northern Ireland at the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games finals.
Backed by National Lottery funding from Sport England, the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games is a multi-sport event for school-aged elite athletes that will take place from 6-9 May 2012. Some 1,600 young people will compete across 12 sports, six of which include disability competition.
For this, its inaugural year, the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Aquatics Centre and ExCeL Centre in London will be among the venues hosting competitions.
More than 35,000 spectators are expected at the event with young people from schools across the country heading to London to watch the action. The sports included in the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games are athletics, badminton, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, judo, rugby 7s, swimming, table tennis, volleyball and wheelchair basketball. There will also be demonstration events in disability judo, gymnastics display and sitting volleyball.
A delighted Teanna said: “This is an amazing opportunity! It is a huge honour to be selected to play the sport I love for my country. I feel so privileged and I honestly can’t believe that I have the opportunity to play at an Olympic venue.
“I hope to gain a lot of experience from the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games and that it will help me to improve and become a better volleyball player.”
David Beckham, who has joined Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games gold medallist Ellie Simmonds as an ambassador for the Sainsbury’s Active Kids campaign, also offered his congratulations: “As Active Kids Ambassador, I want to congratulate everyone taking part in the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games for being selected. Stay focused, practice and enjoy the great opportunity of experiencing the Olympic Park before the biggest show on earth hits London. It will be an amazing experience.”
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport added: “Teanna has worked incredibly hard to win her place in the first School Games finals, and I wish her the very best of luck. I can’t wait to see the finalists compete in our iconic Olympic venues, just weeks before the world’s top athletes do the same. It’s great to see how passionate our young people are about sport and I’m sure the finals will be a truly inspiring occasion.”
Justin King, Sainsbury’s Chief Executive said: “The Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our future sporting talent and we’re thrilled that this year the programme of events will be the most inclusive ever. With the games being held on the biggest stage imaginable just two months before the world’s elite athletes compete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I’m sure this will be an incredible experience for all of the young athletes competing.”
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Officer, John Steele, said: “The School Games is a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the finest young sporting talent this country has to offer. It is also a chance for hundreds of young officials and volunteers to take up important roles and gain invaluable experiences at this major sporting event.”