ALMOST 1,000 children braved awful weather and took to their marks for the annual Saddleworth Village Olympics.
For the first time, there will be overall winners in both the junior and senior groups who will receive the Frank Sykes fair play awards – but the results are being closely guarded until the presentation evenings.
The annual competition kicked off at the start of September under very grey skies as competitors, their parents and supporters gathered for the opening ceremony under grey skies and drizzle at Saddleworth School.
The children paraded carrying the banners of their villages, as well as a host of eye-catching mascots including giant teddy bears and flags.
The Olympics oath was read by Dylan Reading and the games were officially opened by Richard Foster, chairman of Saddleworth Round Table.
Then after a rallying count-down, children released colourful balloons and watched them drift high into the grey sky.
That launched three weeks of events, seeing children aged seven to 16 take part in 12 sports representing the 13 Saddleworth villages.
Adrian Green, co-chair of the Olympics, said: “I cannot remember a Games quite so wet.
“But the dedication and commitment of the volunteers, coaches and organisers ensured we managed to get all fixtures completed in some pretty atrocious conditions and I am extremely proud of the team.
“The closing weekend was thankfully blessed with much better weather and the football and cricket events were well attended as a result.”
Presentation evenings will be on:
Saddleworth Round Table generously donated £1,280 to the Olympics for the purchase of medals for every participant.
Adrian added: “I would like to thank our sponsors once again and also the many parents and coaches who braved the conditions to come and support this year’s event.
“The children all seemed to enjoy it and will very soon be collecting their medals.”
The Olympics’ committee has also conducted a survey to get feedback about the event and suggestions for the future.
Adrian revealed: “The survey has so far been completed by almost 200 parents and competitors and we are reviewing the feedback.”
For event results, and more information, visit: www.saddleworthvillageolympics.co.uk