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2,000 attend opening ceremony of Flintshire Festival of Youth Sport

ABOUT 2,000 active youngsters gathered for the opening ceremony of the Flintshire Festival of Youth Sport yesterday.

The event at Deeside College marked the beginning of the 100 day countdown to the London 2012 Olympics.

The annual festival, supported by Airbus and Sport Wales, first began six years ago and is the largest of its kind for schools in Wales.

After yesterday’s opening ceremony the children were transported to five venues across Flintshire, to take part in 13 different events.

Family and friends were invited to spectate, with secondary school events in the morning and primary in the afternoon.

These included badminton, boccia, cheerleading, basketball, netball, golf, girls football, athletics, water polo, handball, gymnastics, and cricket.

This year’s biggest event was street dance, with more than 700 children taking part in competitions at Airbus Sports and Social Club in Broughton. The secondary school event started at 10am and the primary school event started at 2 pm; parents, family and friends are all invited to spectate.

Schools received free coaching for the events they are entering in the run up to the festival.

Graham Williams, regional manager of Sport Wales, said: "We want the legacy of London 2012 to result in thousands – not hundreds – of children and young people in Flintshire picking up a racquet, or taking to the swimming pool, or joining their local netball club.

"The Flintshire Festival of Youth Sport is a fantastic stage to channel those sporting ambitions, however large or small, and help create thriving sporting communities for our future generations of sports enthusiasts."

Special guests this year include Wales International Rugby League and North Wales Crusaders player, Christian Roets, and Men’s Senior GB Basketball squad member Devan Bailey, a 6ft 2in guard, who plays professional basketball for the British Basketball League team, Mersey Tigers.

Bailey has also played in the United States, for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire where he finished his High School career, before attending Central Connecticut State University where he logged 75 assists over the season.

Julie Rice-Williams, of Sport Flintshire, said: "It is an amazing opportunity for Flintshire children to participate in a range of activities which are not only great fun but help keep them fit and active too."