Sporting teenagers set for Olympic adventure

BALLYMENA sports stars, Roseanna McGuckian and Craig Crawford, are set to compete at London’s Olympic Park ahead of the world’s greatest athletes, after being selected to take part in the Sainsbury’s 2012 School Games finals.

Athlete Roseanna, coached by former Olympian Paul Brizzel, trained in her sport by running on a nearby school gravel pitch and in the local forest to overcome lack access to training facilities.

Craig, a pupil at Dunclug College, is one of four Northern Ireland male cyclists to participate in the Games.

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.

A total of 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 Roseanna said: “I can’t wait to take part in Sainsbury’s School Games next week.

“To be able to compete at the Olympic Park in London is so exciting, especially in front of so many spectators.

“The event is a great opportunity for young people like me to experience what it is like to take part in a competition with athletes from other places. I hope it inspires lots of young people to get involved in sports.”

Steven Pollock, Sainsbury’s Ballymena Store Manager said: “We’re very proud to have budding sports stars in our midst here in Ballymena.

“Sainsbury’s is committed to engaging young people in sports and the colleagues here at the store are, as I’m sure the whole community is, behind Roseanna and Craig and cheering them on for success this week.”