A sports association which helped launch the careers of Olympic stars such as Denise Lewis and Tessa Sanderson is celebrating its 40th birthday this year.

Wolverhampton Association for Sport in Primary Schools (WASPS) was established in 1974 with the aim of organising competitive sport across the city and the tradition has continued ever since.

As part of the celebrations, commemorative medals and plaques have been made to be presented to each participating school.

A Wolves City football team, featuring youngsters from across the city, will play a special match to mark the anniversary against Moorcroft Wood Primary School in Darlaston on Saturday (22 March) at The Grace Academy in Darlaston, kicking off at 11am.

Darlaston has been chosen as the venue because the first ever match that took place featuring Wolverhampton City boys playing Walsall Boys 50 years ago was held there.

The milestone will also be marked at Aldersley Leisure Village on 26 June when Athletics heats will take place.

WASPS is managed by teachers who meet termly, in their own time, to organise competition in many sports including football, tag rugby, cricket, netball, rounders, athletics and swimming.

Many successful sportsmen and women started out participating in WASPS events, most notably Olympic gold medalists Denise Lewis and Tessa Sanderson.

Gary Gentle, chairman of WASPS and headteacher of Bilston Church of England Primary School said: "We should be proud to recognise the achievements in sport of primary school children over the past 40 years.

"Primary schools and their teachers have created a positive sporting culture and ethos which has benefitted thousands of children during the past 4 decades.

"Our organisation is as strong as ever and still provides a unique forum for children to take part in competitive sport."

Councillor Phil Page, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Learning, said: "This is an excellent milestone for WASPS to reach and I congratulate everyone involved in the association - both past and present.

"Their commitment and association means many children have been able to take part in competitive sport in the city and I am sure this tradition will continue long into the future.

"I look forward to seeing more of our talented young sports stars going on to excel on the world stage."

  • released: Wednesday 19 March, 2014