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INTERVIEW: Lancaster team hoping for big medal haul as International Youth Games returns to city

The International Youth Games starts in Lancaster on Friday

Lancaster is getting ready to welcome young athletes from three other countries of Europe for the annual International Youth Games.

The Games gets under way on Friday, July 21, when youngsters from the Lancaster District will compete against children from the city's twin towns of Rendsburg in Germany, Aalborg in Denmark and Almere in the Netherlands.

They will compete in athletics, badminton, karate, rowing and swimming over four days of competition.

Chris Haggan, secretary of the International Youth Games Committee in Lancaster, spoke to Beyond Radio ahead of the event.

LISTEN to our interview with Chris.

"It's a fantastic experience," said Chris, whose association with the Games began when he took part in the karate in 1993, before going on to become a coach.

"I've been friends with people who I've known since I took part, we keep in touch all the time. A lot (of the competitors) make lifelong friendships.

"The host usually gets the most (medals), we've got a good quality team so we should do well."

Here is the Lancaster athletics team ahead of the Games.

Here is the Lancaster badminton team.

The karate team.

The rowing team.

And the swimming team.

The Games has been taking place since the mid-70s as a way to strengthen links between Lancaster and its twin towns. The four countries involved take it in turns to host.

In 2016, Lancaster's participation in the Games was under threat due to the withdrawal of Lancaster City Council funding. A team of local sport leaders, including Chris, got together to form a voluntary committee to find the funding to keep Lancaster involved.

The opening ceremony will take place at Lancaster University Sports Centre at 7pm on Friday.

Athletics will be held at Salt Ayre Sports Centre, the rowing at the John O'Gaunt Rowing Club in Lancaster, and all other events will be held at the university. Spectators are welcome.

GAMES LINE-UP

Friday

Athletics 10am-2pm (Salt Ayre)

Badminton 10am-4pm (Lancaster Uni)

Karate 10am-3pm (Lancaster Uni)

Rowing 9.30am-12noon (John O Gaunt Rowing Club)

Swimming 11.30am-1.30pm (Lancaster Uni)

Saturday

Athletics 9am-5pm (Salt Ayre)

Badminton 10am-5pm (Lancaster Uni)

Karate 12-5pm (Lancaster Uni)

Rowing 10am-3pm (John O Gaunt Rowing Club)

Swimming 9.30am-5pm (Lancaster Uni)

Sunday

Athletics 9am-5pm (Salt Ayre)

Karate 10-4pm (Lancaster Uni)

Rowing 9.30am-12noon (John O Gaunt Rowing Club)

Swimming 9.30-11.30am (Lancaster Uni)

Monday

Badminton 10am-5pm (Lancaster Uni)

Karate 10am-12noon (Lancaster Uni)

Rowing 10am-3pm (John O Gaunt Rowing Club)

Swimming 9.30am-5pm (Lancaster Uni)

All times subject to change.

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