A meeting including some of the most popular names in the national sports scenario marked the beginning of the Youth School Games Fortaleza 2015 - 12 to 14 y.o. phase. Olympic and Pan American athletes were introduced last Thursday (Sep, 3), at Castelao Arena, as event ambassadors. The Games opening ceremony took place last Thursday evening at Ginásio Paulo Sarasate. Over the nine-day event Fortaleza will receive more than 3,850 student-athletes from all over Brazil gathered to compete in 13 disciplines, in addition to social, environmental and cultural activities. Individual competitions started on Friday, Sep 4, at Northeastern Olympic Training Centre (CFO) and at Ceará Convention Center. Team competitions will start on September 8.
The Fortaleza School Games 2015 ambassadors team also include Luiz Henrique Dias dos Santos Junior (badminton), Josuel Santos (basketball), Franklin Roosevelt Bueres Junior (futsal), Ana Paula Casetta (cycling), Luisa Harumi Matsuo (rhythmic gymnastics), Deborah Hannah (handball), Luciano Correa (judo), Antoine Jaoude (wrestling), Joanna Maranhão (swimming), Ligia Silva (table tennis) and Hélia Rogerio de Souza Pinto - Fofão (volleyball). They will be following the performance of student-athletes during the event.
For the School Games general-director Edgar Hubner, Fortaleza will be a positive landmark for all participants. "This is a momentous time for the Brazil Olympic Committee (COB), namely, the opening activities in the Youth School Games. We understand the challenges when conducting an event of this magnitude, but we believe that the Games will be successful," said Hubner as he presented details of the event. "For the individual phase, we managed to concentrate the activities in three venues. In recognition of the event, a delegation from Argentina and international observers coming from Japan will also be participating. We will also be selecting the junior teams that will represent Brazil in international events," he explains.
This sense that the School Games is key to prepare young people is shared by the Coca-Cola Brazil vice-president for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Flavio Camelier. "This edition of the Youth School Games marks three years of partnership with the BOC which makes us very proud. This is the biggest school sports competition in Brazil or even the world, if we consider the state and the local phases, which became an invaluable athletes provider. And the most important is the positive influence of the Games on the lives of millions of young people," Camelier says.
In turn, the Ceará State Sport secretary, Jehovah Mota, highlights how proud he is to host the Games and welcome student-athletes from all over Brazil. "Ceará and, specifically, Fortaleza are open arms to welcome all of you. Until September 12 our city will be the Brazilian capital of school sports. We hope this is going to be a wonderful experience," the secretary wishes.
Participants – With impressive numbers, the School Games include more than 2 million young people in city and state trials, including representatives from 40 000 schools in nearly 4000 cities in Brazil. The national phase, organized by the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) since 2005, brings together athletes from 26 states plus the Federal District in each age group. Currently, student-athletes compete in the following disciplines: athletics, badminton, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, wrestling, swimming, table tennis, chess, basketball, futsal, handball and volleyball. After Fortaleza, the national phase will include 15-17 y.o. youth in Londrina (PR), in November.
Cultural and environmental actions – With the theme "Gender Equality in Sports", the Youth School Games Conviviality Center, installed at the Ceará Convention Center, will deliver a number of actions. The content has been developed in collaboration with UN Women, the global organization for the advancement of women and girls around the world.
At the Conviviality Center's Coca-Cola Space you can also see up close the Olympic torches from the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, and will have a chance to be selected for the Olympic Torch relay next year. Visitors are allowed access to BOC's library collection; to meet Ginga, the Brazil Team jaguar mascot; to attend graffiti and skateboard workshops; to watch cultural performances, parkour demonstrations and films about sports; play table tennis and foosball; besides other activities.
On Friday, Sep 4, at 8:30am, student-athletes and ambassadors will be participating in the planting of trees at Cocó Ecological Park, in partnership with the Municipal Bureau for the Environment. On Saturday, Sep 5, starting at 7pm, a meeting including leading athletes will b e held at the Ceará Convention Center to discuss issues related to the event and the delivery of the upcoming games.
Clinics – School Games participants will also have an opportunity to attend sports clinics and to be introduced to other disciplines. Until this Friday, Sep 4, they will be participating in archery activities. From September 5 to 8 they will be participating in field hockey. Lastly, on September 9-11 they will be playing 3 x 3 basketball.
National Team – In Fortaleza, judo, basketball and volleyball student-athletes will be observed by experts and members of the Brazilian Olympic Confederations. Some of them will be selected to form up the School Team and train with the national junior teams in those disciplines. The athletes who will represent Brazil later this year in the South American Youth Games, in Asuncion, Paraguay, will be selected in Fortaleza.
The Youth School Games are organized and delivered by the Brazil Olympic Committee (BOC), kin partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Organizações Globo, supported by the Government of Ceará and the City of Fortaleza, with master sponsorship from Coca-Cola.