Bury St Edmunds will be holding the annual Redrow Suffolk Youth Games on Sunday.
With just over a year to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Suffolk Youth Games, now celebrating its 12th year, offers young people from the seven local authority districts a small taste of what it is like to compete in a large scale, multi-sport event.
Tony Bush, business development manager for Suffolk Sport, said: “It is the largest multi-sporting event in Suffolk.
“We think it is vital to promote a healthy lifestyle and with the high levels of child obesity and diabetes, if we can get these young people into regular sport now then it will help and benefit them in the future.
“The main aim of the event is we want people to be inspired to get into playing sport and if they do, playing more often.”
This year there will be nine competitive sports for both able bodies and disabled competitotrs and includes sports such as: athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, hockey, squash, table tennis, tag-rugby and tennis, as well as independent competitions in Judo.
Around 1,000 young people will be taking part in the Youth Games themselves but many more have been involved in pre-games community coaching programmes organised by local authority sports development teams.
Among the teams competing will be St.Edmundsbury Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Forest Heath District Council.
Richard Baldwin, cultural services development officer with Forest Heath, said the event can have a big impact on young people in the area.
He said: “The Suffolk Youth Games are a great way to get young people involved in competitive sport. Training sessions have been run over a 10 week period in the lead up to the games and are aimed at children and young people who are not already taking part in regular activity.
“They will get a taste of competitive sport at the event and are signposted to regular activity at a local club.
“Local sports clubs and coaches will deliver the training sessions so there is a continuity and that young people see a friendly face at the club if they decide to take up the sport regularly.
“The event is also a great showcase for local sport and with a year to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games there is definitely a buzz.”