National Finals

The biggest event on the School Games calendar is the National Finals.

What is it?

This biennual four day multi-sport event is hosted between late August and early September once every two years in elite sporting venues across the country. Since 2016 the event has taken place at Loughborough University, who have worked alongside the Youth Sport Trust to create an inspirational and motivational setting which helps accustom the country’s most promising young athletes to a high quality, high pressure environment. 

You can find out more via the Games’ bespoke website:

Highlights of the 2018 event can be seen below...

How does it work?

In 2018 the competition was held across a total of eleven current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports: Athletics, Cycling, Hockey, Netball, Laser Run, Triathlon, Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Tennis,  Cricket, Canoeing and Rowing. The competition re-enforces the experience of Olympic and Paralympic Games, complete with an Opening Ceremony and an Athletes Village. In addition, the Athlete Education Programme (AEP) provides athletes with the opportunity to engage in workshops designed to prepare them for elite level sport. In 2018, this included sessions delivered by UK Anti Doping (UKAD), workshops about the Integrity of Sport, as well as opportunities for athletes to spend time with Athlete Mentors to gain an insight into life as an elite athlete. This is made possible through National Lottery funding via Sport England.

Where did it all start?

The School Games was established after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and demonstrates the legacy of our home Games. Its predecessor, the UK School Games, was first hosted in 2006. The Games have since been hosted by Glasgow, Coventry, Bristol and Bath, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland, Sheffield, London, Manchester, and now Loughborough University. 

What has the event achieved so far?

As of the end of the 2018 event, over 20,000 young athletes have competed in the School Games. The School Games is extremely proud of all of its alumni. Many of our athletes have gone on to be extremely successful, including Olympic and Paralympic medal winners Adam Peaty, Dina Asher-Smith, Ellie Simmonds, Hannah Cockroft, Jonny Peacock, and Max Whitlock. In fact, 56 of the 382 athletes who represented Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have competed at the School Games – 15% of the team – and if the School Games was a country it would have finished 17th in Brazil. But most importantly, the School Games provides a crucial environment to nurture top young athletes who come through the NGB talent systems.

Can I get involved?

Of course you can, there are lots of opportunities available each year, and not just those for our young athletes. For each National Finals, we will be reaching out to our network for volunteers to assist with the running of the Games, whilst there will also be the opportunity to purchase tickets, either as an individual or as a school group. Make sure you are registered with the School Games website to be the first to hear about these opportunities and any special offers.  

Visit the National Finals website

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