THOUSANDS of children have been getting into the spirit of the Olympics by taking part in sporting activities.

About 2,500 children from 55 schools across the area took part in Swindon School Games yesterday, which included challenges such as ice hockey, swimming, tennis and wheelchair basketball.

Sessions were held at The Link Centre, as well as in the Delta Tennis Centre, Lydiard Park Academy, Next Generation, the County Ground and Blunsdon House Hotel.

Andy Steckbeck, the school games organiser for Swindon, said: “It is the first time we have done this.

“ There are a mixture of competitions and chances to try sports.

“We have really tried to showcase some of the fantastic things that go on in Swindon.

“It is a good opportunity to get children together. It all links in with the Olympics.

“Some schools have got five children involved and some schools have got 100.”

Children aged from seven to 15 took part in a range of sports, including climbing, athletics and golf as part of the day.

Claire Clarke, Year 5 teacher at Orchid Vale Primary School, was at the event with a group of children taking part in sessions at the Link Centre ice skating rink.

“We have got 10 children doing ice hockey, 10 doing swimming and another 10 doing athletics at the County Ground,” she said.

“The children have been looking forward to it. We always like to get involved in sport because the kids enjoy it.

“It is important to everybody but especially because it is the Olympics this year.”

Hollie Follett, 10, who is a Year 5 pupil at Orchid Vale, said: “I want to do ice skating lessons now. Taking part in activities like this makes me more excited for the Olympics because all your friends are here. It might have been what the athletes in the Olympics did and what made them go in to the sport that they are doing.”

Emily Rose, 11, who is a Year 6 pupil at Orchid Vale, said: “I enjoyed taking part in the day. I do rugby and hockey at the moment but events like this make me want to do more sport. I have learnt lots of skills here, like how to skate for ice hockey.”

Suzanne Taylor, who is a Year 4 teacher at Chiseldon Primary School, said: “We have got 10 ice skating, about 15 swimming and a lot of pupils at Lydiard Park Academy. Because of the Olympics we wanted to get them involved and doing something they will remember. They have loved it.”

Diane Lee, who is the vice-chairwoman and competition secretary of the Swindon Tigersharks, organised the swimming event with help from clubs across Swindon.

Events will continue today with about 120 children with additional needs from across the county.