A BRADFORD weightlifting champion was on-hand to inspire the next generation of school sport stars as she officially opened the 2014/15 Jet2 Holidays West Yorkshire School Games yesterday.
Rebekah Tiler, of Denholme, currently British and European champion, was also made the second inductee into competition organisers West Yorkshire Sport's new hall of fame, joining triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, who shot to prominence while members of Bingley Harriers.
Rebekah, said to be the world's strongest 15 year-old girl, answered questions on her rise to success from children from various Bradford primary schools, who then went on to compete in a football tournament to decide the first entrants into this year's School Games winter finals in March 2015.
"I'm really proud to be involved today, as it is all about getting more people competing in sport, which is great," said Rebekah, who finished fourth in this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"I started playing sport in school, and that's where my talent was first recognised.
"I used to be a sprinter and went to Bingley Harriers, but I got tested at a performance centre for my strength, and became a weightlifter from there.
"The School Games allows children to try different sports, but the competition also allows them to move forward and develop.
"It's great to be joining the Brownlee brothers in the hall of fame, as I went to the same school and club."
Almost 2,800 pupils competed at the West Yorkshire School Games last year, including around 540 from 34 schools across the Bradford district, making the event, which is sponsored nationally by Sainsbury's, the biggest school-based competition in the county.
The event is organised by West Yorkshire Sport and delivered with support from a team of school games organisers based in Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
The first of two multi-sport finals will take place at Leeds Beckett University on March 25 next year, before the main summer finals in July 2015.
Vicky Joel, director of operations at West Yorkshire Sport, said: "The main thing about the School Games is giving every school the chance to participate, that's what we concentrate on.
"This event is only as strong as the people who deliver it, and we're delighted that we continue to have that infrastructure here, despite the cuts sport has taken in the past few years.
"In Bradford, the networks and officers are particularly strong, both in the local authority and in education."
Yesterday's launch event took place at Tong High School in Bradford, whose head teacher, Steve Curran, is chairman of the West Yorkshire School Games Local Organising Committee.
Guests were also treated to an energetic performance by the school's cheerleading group before the under-nine's football tournament kicked off.
Schools taking part from the Bradford district included All Saints' Primary School in Little Horton, Ryecroft Primary Academy in Holme Wood, St Columba's Catholic Primary School in Dudley Hill, and Thornbury Primary School.