A DUDLEY cyclist is set to take on a host of elite young athletes at the 2014 School Games.
Connie Hudson, 15, is one of 1,600 youngsters competing at this year’s event from September 4-7.
She will represent England West Midlands in the track cycling, just one of 12 sports being contested at the four day event in Manchester which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust.
While at the event, Hudson will get a taste of the pressure and excitement of competing at the highest level. She will experience an athlete's village, take part in opening and closing ceremonies, and perform in front of a crowd of thousands.
She said: "I have a real passion for all sport, which has encouraged me to compete in the Sainsbury’s School Games with the England West Midlands team.
"Watching Jess Varnish, Dani Khan and Beth Crumpton, who are Sainsbury’s School Games alumni, compete at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has inspired me even more to achieve my long term goal of becoming a professional cyclist on the world stage.
"The Sainsbury’s School Games will give me the opportunity to see what it is like to live and compete like a professional athlete.”
A number of British stars have all been on the same journey as the Dudley schoolgirl and experienced competing at the Sainsbury’s School Games before going on to sporting success at a senior level.
In 2008, Team GB’s rising star of the heptathlon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson bagged a gold medal and with it the record of 1.78m in the Girls’ High Jump.
Paralympic Swimming Gold medallist, Ellie Simmonds took gold and two silvers in the pool in 2006. Paralympic Gold Medallist sprinter Jonnie Peacock came first in 2009’s Ambulant 100m, setting a then record time of 12:85.
Alongside the competing athletes, there will be around 400 budding volunteers under 25 years old to help bring the School Games to life for the young athletes, along with thousands of spectators.
Young reporters will be among the journalists reporting on the action and many of the officials will also be young people.
Mike Diaper, Sport England’s director of community sport, said: “The Sainsbury’s School Games are a fantastic opportunity for the next generation of aspiring athletes to compete against one another in a fun environment.
"Congratulations and the best of luck to all those who have qualified for the finals of this year’s Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester.”
The Sainsbury’s School Games is supported by a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Youth Sport Trust, Department of Health and British Paralympic Association.
To find out more visit 2014schoolgames.com