LESS than three months before the starting gun fires on the Commonwealth Games, 1500 school- children had the chance to put the city's world class sporting facilities to the test.

And they all agreed the venues were gold medal winners. At the Emirates Arena and Glasgow Green Football Centre, the P5, 6 and 7 pupils from 37 primary schools took part in 12 sports ranging from athletics and badminton to gymnastics, hockey and netball in the Glasgow Youth Games.

After taking part in high jump, shot put and javelin events, Harrison Tervit from Corpus Christi Primary School in Knightswood said the day was a great way to try out sports and make new friends.

What impressed him most?

"The Emirates Arena is amazing, I didn't realise it was this big," says the 11-year-old. "I can't wait to go to the Commonwealth Games now, we have tickets for the running and the swimming at Tollcross."

Set up in 1996, this is the first time the annual Youth Games, the biggest sporting event in Scotland for youngsters, has been held at the Emirates Arena and premieres the opportunity for children to try cycle speedway.

It plays a vital role in raising the profile of sports at schools as thousands of children, regardless of their ability, get the chance to compete in a large-scale sporting event. Who knows, some pupils getting their first taste of a sporting life could be hooked and become the next Eilidh Child or Eilish McColgan.

On the track Josh McCulloch, a P7 pupil from Wellshot Primary School in Tollcross, was having a go at the javelin, 60-metres sprint and relay with his classmates.

"I really like athletics and compete at different tournaments," he says. "This has been brilliant and a great chance to try new things."

Tina Stoddart, deputy head at Wellshot Primary School, says the school brings pupils to the event every year.

"It's a great way for the children to try out new sports but this year it has been a fabulous opportunity to use the new facilities.

"The Youth Games are really important because they're not competitive and give children the chance to have a go. It's a great way to build confidence."

With only 90 days to go before Glasgow plays host to the Commonwealth Games, the Youth Games plays a key role in generating interest in sport for children and showing them what the power of sport can achieve.

The come-and-try sessions puts the emphasis on fun with less focus on a competitive edge. Even school pupil goes home with a printed kit bag, T-shirt and commemorative certificate.

This year schools attending include five schools for children with disabilities with specific sports at the velodrome infield.

"We wanted to give children the opportunity to experience the facilities where the Commonwealth Games will be held and felt that would be quite a fillip for them," says Graham Diamond, senior sports development officer at Glasgow Life.

"As far as I know, Glasgow is the only city which as allowed the people to use the facilities before the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.

"We took the stance of, open it out to everyone, then we'll tidy it up for the Games. It's a great idea."

He adds: "It's all about coming and trying, there are no winners or losers."

Another 25 secondary school pupils take part in the Youth Games today and Councillor Archie Graham, chairman of Glasgow Life and an executive member of the Commonwealth Games, says it is important that the city capitalises on its sporting facilities to encourage future generations.

"Glasgow Youth Games continues to inspire the sports stars of the future and also engages children of all abilities by allowing them to experience just how much fun exercise can be," he says.

"We are one of the world's top 10 sporting cities. That position has been built on a track record of hosting world class events and on our commitment to providing opportunities for all ages."

Evening Times Active 2014 aims to improve the health of Scots in the year of the Commonwealth Games and build a lasting legacy of physical wellbeing.

The Youth Games play an important role in raising the profile of sport within schools, according to Amanda McMillan, managing director of event sponsors Glasgow Airport.

"For many young people, it is their first taste of a large-scale sporting occasion and in addition to being great fun, it promotes competition, team work and a healthier lifestyle," she says.