AROUND 1,000 youngsters will be taking part in Saddleworth Village Olympics that start on Saturday, September 8.
The children, aged between seven and 16, will form seven teams representing 13 Saddleworth villages, taking part in 12 sports over three weeks of competition.
The village teams are Delph and Denshaw; Diggle; Dobcross; Greenfield; Grasscroft, Friezland and Grotton; Scouthead, Austerlands and Springhead; Uppermill.
Saddleworth School will be the main venue, with events also taking place at Churchill Playing Fields, Saddleworth Pool, Tame Valley Tennis and Squash Club, Saddleworth Rangers and Uppermill Sports Club.
After a successful trial last year, hockey becomes a fully-fledged sport for children aged between 10 and 13 years.
There will be two mixed competitions for boys and girls aged 10/11 and 12/13 and they will take place on the all-weather pitch at Saddleworth School on Saturday, September 15.
Tug of war also makes its bow. It was earmarked as a trial sport last year but had to be cancelled through bad weather.
There will be two mixed competitions for aged 8/9 and 10/11 and they too will be at Saddleworth School.
The trophy has been named in memory of former chairman Ben Hilton who was a major figure in ensuring the Olympics have continued to be a major local sporting event.
The ethos of the games, which were started more than 30 years ago, is to promote and strengthen the community through a common interest in sport and to develop young people through competition, friendship, learning about winning and losing and the importance of ‘having a go’ whatever the result.
Organisers will be hoping for better weather this year as in 2017 torrential rain caused the cancellation of the opening ceremony and tug of war competition.
After a number of years of declining senior competitor numbers, the committee is this year calling on all secondary school children to re-engage with the Olympics and are hoping they recall the fun and competitive spirit that made them take part when they were younger.
Fundraising is always a major part of the activities and the committee would like to thank Saddleworth Round Table and Robert Scott and Sons for their continued support.
The committee would be keen to hear from any other local businesses who are looking for sport/children’s charities to support.
Co-chairman Adrian Green said: “Our main aim is to try and encourage as many local children as possible to take part in as many sports as we can.
“We are therefore really excited to be introducing hockey to the schedule this year and hopefully to award the tug-of-war trophy for the first time.”
Further information and a full schedule of events can be found online at: www.saddleworthvillageolympics.co.uk
Any businesses interested in supporting the event can email the committee: firstname.lastname@example.org