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7 July 2010, 09:33
After months of training and weeks of competing more than 6,000 children have taken part in the finals of the Kent School Games.
The events took place over three days in what's said to be the biggest school sports event in Europe.
Youngsters competed in sports including athletics, gymnastics, swimming, futsal, archery and trampolining and there were demonstrations of cheerleading, cricket and rock climbing.
Double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes was there along with Paralympic champion Danny Crates and Minister for Sport and Olympics Hugh Robertson.
The finals marked the end of months of competition involving four to 16 year-olds in 38 different sports, and there are now plans to use the idea from Kent as a model for a national competition.
Kent County Council Leader, Paul Carter, said:
"Kent is leading the way with this school games model, which has attracted national attention for the hugely positive way it’s getting young people involved in sport.
"The enthusiasm and energy of this year’s Kent School Games has been tremendous and its success is a real tribute to everyone involved."
More than 30,000 children from 545 schools took part in hundreds of heats and trials in a bid to reach the finals, which were kicked off with an opening ceremony in Maidstone on 23 June.
The Kent School Disability Games took place last week when more than 500 young disabled sportsmen and women competed in athletics, boccia, cycling, New Age Kurling, rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming and table cricket.
Dame Kelly Holmes, patron of the Kent 2012 campaign, is a supporter of the games and has been promoting them at a national level. She said:
"It is so important for young people to get involved in sport and the Kent School Games is a brilliant opportunity for so many to enjoy the experience of representing their local area at such a major event. It is not always about being the best but being the best you can be and that’s exactly what this is all about. Let’s applaud their amazing efforts. Well done."