TWO thousand schoolchildren took to the field in a huge sporting and arts event ahead of the Olympics.

Pupils from 15 schools across Dorset congregated at Redlands Community Sports Hub, Weymouth where they played games, made art and met an Olympic Gold medallist.

Special guests 4x100m gold medal-winning relay runner Jason Gardener and Olympic and Paralympic 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville were at the Art of Sport Festival yesterday.

Rachel Elam, aged 11, a pupil at Royal Manor Arts College on Portland said: “It’s been a lot of fun. So far we have done dancing and played tag rugby. Later it’s ultimate frisby and art, which sounds quite exciting.

“We’re getting to try a lot of new activities.”

The event was run by the Regional Educational Legacy for Arts and Youth Sport (RELAYS) team and Weymouth College, with support from Bournemouth University, the Arts University College at Bournemouth, West Dorset School Sports Partnership, Dorset County Council and Active Dorset.

Some 250 student volunteers ensured that the event ran smoothly.

Volunteer Joe Thomas, 20, a student at Bournemouth University, said: “As we’re studying sports, helping out at this event builds up our degree and we get the chance to learn how to coach.

“We can the use what we’ve learned later in our careers. It’s nice to feel involved in the Olympics. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

There were 60 activities running simultaneously throughout the day, including rocketball, tchoukball, ultimate-frisbee, sports journalism, radio broadcasting, dance and aerial art.

Teaching assistant Michael Brown from Budmouth College, Weymouth said: “It’s fantastic, the kids have been having a really good time.

“The children have been moving around and taking part in different group activities which has allowed them to make new friends.”