EXCITEMENT is growing across the county with a week to go until the first event of the inaugural Gloucestershire School Games competition, organised by Active Gloucestershire with support of the Local Organising Committee.

The 2014 Gloucestershire School Games will officially commence next week with the county’s under-15 boys basketball tournament at Newent School.

Schools from Cheltenham, Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Stroud and Cotswolds will all be looking gain the first gold medal of year and claim the top spot on the Gloucestershire School Games leaderboard, which Katharine Lady Berkley’s School dominated last year.

Over £45,000 of lottery and government funding has been invested to support the Sainsbury’s School Games in Gloucestershire, producing a unique opportunity to motivate and inspire thousands of young people to take part in competitive school sport. The Games are designed to build on the magic of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and enable every school child to participate in competitive sport, including meaningful opportunities for disabled youngsters.

The 2014 Gloucestershire School Games, now in its third year, will be the biggest to date with an estimated 3,000 school pupils taking part in 28 different high-quality sports competitions. Team qualification and selection is currently taking place, with inter-school competitions being held to determine which schools will represent their district.

New this year, the Gloucestershire School Games will see its first Spring Festival of sport held at Cheltenham College on Friday, March 28 and will host the quicksticks hockey, high 5 netball, projectability boccia, and sixth form and FE softball competitions.

The existing Summer Festival, Watersports Festival, Athletics Day, and stand alone events will all be making a return in addition to the spectacular opening ceremony which was held at iconic Gloucester Cathedral for the first time last year.

Other sports included this year are basketball, sports hall athletics, badminton, rugby union, swimming, football, cross country, hockey, netball, boccia, softball, gymnastics, athletics, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, archery, quadkids, rounders, pentathlon, equestrianism, mountain biking, softball, table tennis, rowing, cricket, tennis and kwik cricket.