Nine athletes from Worcestershire will today be attending this year’s School Games National Finals at Loughborough University.

It is the first UK multi-sport competition for young athletes to take place after lockdown.

The SGNF sees the most talented young athletes from across the UK travel to Loughborough for a weekend of positive competition.

Now in its 14th year, the Finals have a star-studded past, with many young competitors going on to achieve Olympic fame. 80 athletes who competed at Tokyo 2020 began their sporting career at the SGNF.

One of the young stars on show this week is Worcester-based netball sensation, Maisie Lyons.

Maisie, 15, is currently involved in the Player Pathway system at Vitality Super League (VSL) netball franchise Severn Stars and will be taking part in the netball tournament at the Finals this week.

As for many young aspiring sportsmen and women, the past 18 months have been a real challenge but Maisie has maintained her competitive edge even during the toughest times of lockdown.

“It was a quite tough,” admitted Maisie, who goes to The King's School Worcester.

“There was nothing to do. I kept wanting to play and train as hard as I normally do but our coaches had to step in and tell us to not over train. Your body needs rest.

“Everyone at home, as well as coaches, have been so supportive and everyone has done their bit to help me.”

But now, on the day the Finals begin, Maisie is excited to get stuck in.

“I will be playing against the best athletes in my sport. There will be a lot to learn and the challenge will help me progress,” she said.

“I have never been to an event over two days so that will be a new experience and an exciting one - and also looking around Loughborough University!”

Maisie is hopeful of being as successful as possible in the next few days before using her experience to spur her on to make her way through the age groups and one day, into the VSL itself.

“That’s the goal, to play in the VSL,” she said

“I follow it a lot. I watch all the Stars games and lots of the other ones as well.

“You can learn so much from just watching. It is a rising sport, so it is easier to access now and that’s a good thing.”

You can watch Maisie and all the other young sporting stars on show at the Finals via this YouTube link

The list of the Worcestershire athletes on show are:

  • Dan Pennington-Bridges, aged 17, Wheelchair basketball (Bewdley)
  • Izzy Thompson, aged 15, netball , Charis Pavely, aged 16, cricket, Callum Holland, aged 15, hockey (all Bromsgrove)
  • Tom Birley, aged 16, triathlon (Castlemorton)
  • Amelia Lane, aged 17, hockey (Droitwich)
  • Lucy Hatfield, aged 15, Laser Run (Redditch)
  • Maisie Lyons, aged 15 and Freya Sinclair, aged 15, both netball and from Worcester.