The School Games is renowned for spring-boarding the UK’s top young athletes into the next part of their career, giving them a new opportunity to experience a Olympic and Paralympic feel, complete with an Opening Ceremony and an Athletes Village.

Helping our athletes on the pathway to success, 17 former School Games competitors won medals at the Rio Olympics, including six golds. With the Games being the first taste of a multi-sport event for many of our athletes, it often becomes one of the most memorable part of their careers.

This year, the event is will be hosted directly at the world-class facilities of Loughborough University campus, for the second year running, creating a unique and professional atmosphere.

It’s easy to hand-out statistics of the School Games’ plentiful success stories, but we spoke to 2016 competitor Rosie to find out what the athlete experience is really like.

What team were you part of and how did you do?

I played for the South East of England in the Rugby 7s competition. We won!

What was the best part of your School Games?

I think the best part of School Games was being able to play alongside and against your friends, as well as people from different backgrounds and parts of the country. It is nice to be involved in a competition which is so well structured and made enjoyable for all, whether it be watching or participating!

Rosie holds the cup, after her team win the Rugby 7s at the 2016 School Games.

What did you gain from taking part?

Competing was a taster of professionalism. I enjoyed being on a set schedule, having a strong support structure and also having our games streamed.

Why is the School Games good for young athletes?

It’s so good for young athletes, as it allows them to feel like they are heading in the right direction in their careers. It is always great being selected for games and tournaments and I think it gives people opportunities that they may not have experienced before.

It was one of my first multi-event competitions, so it was enjoyable experiencing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the buzz from the environment created by being around athletes from so many sports.

What was the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere on the opening night was especially great. We rugby girls love a sing and dance! It was nice to integrate with other people from different places and sports, too. The commentating was exciting and helped you mentally prepare for the game.  We found that having a crowd there also made the atmosphere even better, as you could hear the cheering and friendly rivalry between teams’ parents!

What are you doing now in your sport?

I’m currently studying at Loughborough University, where the School Games took place. I’m also playing for Saracens in the new Tyrell’s Premier 15s League. It’s my second season there, so I am excited to see what opportunities arise. I am also in the England u20s squad preparing for the 2017/18 season!

We think Rosie is a great example of all the exciting opportunities the School Games can lead to, whether it’s just experiencing new elements of competing, like commentators, or going on to play for England u20s.

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Rosie, or who this year’s Rugby 7s stars will be.

You can buy your tickets here.