SPORTY young pupils in South Tyneside swapped the classroom for the court to help make a region-wide badminton tournament a smash hit.
Youngsters from Whitburn Church of England Academy and St Wilfrid’s RC College represented the borough in the Sainsbury’s School Games Badminton finals.
The keenly-contested event saw more than 60 teenagers from 12 schools – representing Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Sunderland as well as South Tyneside – making a racquet in a bid for success.
The extravaganza saw girls and boys’ tournaments, organised by Tyne and Wear Sport, held throughout the day at the Tyneside Badminton Centre in Kenton.
All of the schools had qualified for the Tyne and Wear final having competed in their own local authority areas earlier in the term.
Following an intense afternoon of competition, Benfield School overcame St Aidan’s Catholic Academy in the boys’ final while Newcastle High School for Girls triumphed over St. Anthony’s Girls Academy from Sunderland in the girls’ final. Hannah Buchannen and Josh Atkinson, from Whitburn Church of England Academy, enjoyed the chance to take on fellow players from across the net – and across the North East.
Hannah, 15, said, “The School Games are a very friendly competition with a great atmosphere.
“The good thing about sport is that it gives you lots of opportunities.
“I have travelled to Twickenham with my rugby team and also Manchester for basketball.”
Josh, 14, added: “I’ve been playing badminton for about four years. We have a school club which meets every lunchtime. It’s a great sport to play with your friends.
School Games Co-ordinator Claire Elliott, from Tyne & Wear Sport, said: “The School Games are part of the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy, and the aim is to give every pupil from every school the opportunity to take part in competitive sport.
“The badminton event was a huge success and a great day was had by all.
“Well done to all those who qualified as the enthusiasm of the competitors is what makes these events so special.”