Sir Chris Hoy launches national children's poetry competition ahead of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

To celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Sir Chris Hoy, in partnership with digital bank Chase, has today called on young poets in schools in Great Britain to embrace the spirit of the Games and write a poem about what sport means to them.

The Chase Power of Sport poetry competition is open to young students in schools in England, Scotland, and Wales, and there are a number of top prizes on offer – from tickets to events at the Games, to hundreds of books for their school libraries. The competition is open to schools to invite students in Key Stage 1, Foundation, First Level and Key Stage 2 and Second Level to enter until 4th July.

The judging panel will include Sir Chris Hoy, together with representatives from the Chase Rewarding Futures initiative. Poems will be judged on a number of factors including: originality, the use of poetic techniques, reflecting personal experience and conveying emotion.

Two winners (one from each Key Stage*) will be awarded 30 sets of tickets to attend Cricket T20 at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with their classmates, a guardian, plus the class teacher and teaching assistant.

A further four shortlisted poets (two from each Key Stage*) will also be able to join in the excitement of Birmingham 2022, with each winning tickets to the Games for them and their families and carers, alongside 100 books each for their schools.

Sir Chris will announce the poetry competition winners and runners up at a special ceremony, to be held at a school in Birmingham to be announced, and live streamed across the country. Schools can register to join the live-streamed event, which will include a Q&A, where students will have the opportunity to quiz Sir Chris about what sport has meant to him, and his own favourite books when growing up.

The competition aims to inspire the next generation to unlock their creative potential by showcasing the power of sport through literacy. It builds on the Chase Rewarding Futures school libraries programme which, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, is transforming 150 primary school libraries. It has already enhanced the reading space of 31 school libraries across Birmingham.

Overall, the programme will improve access to reading and literacy for approximately 35,000 children in underserved communities across seven key areas: Dundee, Doncaster, Newport, Suffolk, London, Nottingham, and Birmingham.

Sir Chris Hoy said: “I’m so excited to launch this competition to celebrate the Commonwealth Games. Sport really helped me to unlock my potential, but so too did literacy. For me, it was Greg LeMond’s ‘The Incredible Comeback’, an unbelievable book and story that really inspired me to follow my dreams when I first started track and road cycling. That’s why I’m thrilled to be working alongside Chase to encourage students nationwide to embrace the competitive spirit of the Commonwealth Games and tell us what sport means to them through poetry. I’m looking forward to reading all of the entries and seeing the winners cheer on all of the athletes at this year’s Games.”

Deborah Keay, Chief Marketing Officer of Chase in the UK, said: “We are delighted to launch this competition and continue our mission of inspiring a love of reading in young people. By combining sport and literacy together, we want to showcase their collective ability to unlock the creative potential of the next generation. Through our Rewarding Futures programme, we know that literacy has proven positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing, as well as their future prospects. We can’t wait to read the entries and celebrate the Games with all participating schools.”

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