A total of 1,226 primary school pupils from 42 schools converged on Aberdeen Sports Village on Friday, May 20 as the Aberdeen Youth Games culminated in its annual Festival of Sport.
Launched by Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Sport and Exercise Science team and Sport Aberdeen in 2013, the Aberdeen Youth Games is an innovative and multi award-winning programme which promotes physical activity, health and wellbeing amongst young people in Aberdeen.
A Legacy 2014 programme, the initiative is supported by North East Scotland College and has also received funding from The Wood Foundation and First Bus, and involves sports coaching and healthy living advice for pupils.
Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (AFCCT) supported the Aberdeen Youth Games this year and ran sessions at the festival, as did the RGU-based Streetsport which works in communities across the city.
At the festival pupils participated in a number of skills-based sporting activities, using the skills they’ve learned after in-school coaching from RGU and North East Scotland College students this term in basketball, tennis and rugby.
Aberdeen rowing star, and RGU Sport Scholar, Lewis McCue has signed up as the latest ambassador for the project, joining Dr Katherine Grainger CBE, Sir Ian Wood CBE, Scotland footballer Rachel Corsie, Olympic snowboarder Ben Kilner, and former Scotland hockey captain Leigh Fawcett Lewis (21), who worked on the project as an Applied Sport and Exercise Science student at RGU, was at the Festival of Sport alongside Sir Ian Wood, Leigh and Ben to cheer on the pupils.
He said: “The Aberdeen Youth Games is a fantastic project to encourage primary school pupils to enjoy new sports they may not have tried before. It’s great to be an ambassador for the programme which is going from strength to strength each year.
“In my second year at RGU I was involved with delivering sport coaching to pupils in schools as part of the programme which was a very rewarding experience.”
Lewis, who won a silver medal at Under 23 World Rowing Championships last year is aiming for gold in 2016, urged pupils to love their sport and reap the rewards of training and hard work.
He said: “My one aim this summer is to win Gold at the U23 World championships in August. I have a two month period of intense training planned with my crew and I’m looking forward to this great opportunity to produce some strong results.
“My advice to school pupils would be to enjoy training and really love what you’re doing. Never let anyone tell you that you won’t achieve something, get your head down and work hard until you get where you want to be.
“Taking part in high performance sport has also made me focus on my studies more and made me more time efficient so there are other benefits to enjoy too.”