Local girl Rhianna Campbell, a 17-year-old hockey player from Ballymena, is one of 1,600 youngsters competing at this year’s Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games, a major multi-sport event for elite young athletes next month.
Rhianna will represent Ulster in the hockey, just one of 12 sports being contested at the four day event in Manchester which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
While at the event, Rhianna will get a taste of the pressure and excitement of competing at the highest level. She will experience an athlete’s village, take part in opening and closing ceremonies, and perform in front of a crowd of thousands.
A delighted Rhianna, who was born in Manchester, said: “I have been working hard to be a part of the Sainsbury’s School Games for a few years now. I am grateful to my coaches who have selected me now, especially as the event is in Manchester.
What I love most about hockey is competing and challenging peers from around the country, however the opportunity to compete and liaise with athletes from around the whole of the United Kingdom is unbelievable. I aim to show them respect but also give my opposing sides a very hard time to beat the Ulster girls.”
Alongside the competing athletes, there will be around 400 budding volunteers under 25 years old to help bring the Sainsbury’s 2014 School Games to life for the young athletes, along with thousands of spectators. Young reporters will be among the journalists reporting on the action and many of the officials will also be young people.
The Sainsbury’s School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Association.