The Coventry athletes taking part in the International Children’s Games

Young athletes from across Coventry gathered in the Council House this week as they limbered up for the 53rd International Children’s Games.

Eighteen young people from Coventry will be taking part in this year’s International Children’s Games, taking place this summer from 9 to 13 July in the city of Ufa, Russia.

Coventry is one of the cities representing Britain in the annual sporting event. The squad will be made up of students, aged 12 to 15 year-olds, from a range of local schools.

The Coventry team will be competing against more than 1,500 children from 90 cities around the world.

The 53rd annual International Children’s Games will feature sports including athletics, swimming, football, basketball, table tennis, sailing, judo and beach volleyball.

The International Children’s Games was founded in 1968 with the aim of promoting peace and friendship through sports. It has become the world’s largest international multi-sport youth games and is a recognised member of the International Olympic Committee.

The pre-event meeting held at the Council House was made all the more special with the attendance of Richard Smith, Secretary General of the International Children’s Games and Torsten Rasch, President of the International Children’s Games.

Cllr John Mutton, Chair of the Coventry International Children’s Games Committee, said: “I have been involved in the games now for 23 years, and I have to say how proud I am to have seen so many Coventry young people take part over the years.

“It is an event which has grown over that time and welcoming Richard and Torsten makes the build-up extra special. They are so impressed by the city, and the enthusiasm of the young people.

“The Coventry team are a real credit to the swimming and athletics clubs that they are part, of and I hope that they have a fabulous experience and build friendships for life.

“I’d also like to personally thank all those organisations who are supporting us,” he added.

Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member leading on Coventry’s role as European City of Sport, added: “This is such a great event because it’s based on building friendships from across the globe. Coventry has been represented for many years and I hope our athletes and swimmers have a fantastic experience in Ufa.

“Richard and Torsten were so enthusiastic about their visit to Coventry. They have played a crucial part in continuing to expand the games and It was a privilege to welcome them to the city.”