Other invited guests included Olympic Badminton Silver medallist Gail Emms and Judo European Championship Silver Medalist Sarah Clarke. The launch took part at the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe where the Manchester United players joined local children in sampling each of the sports.
Michael Carrick said: “The Olympics is great news for British sport and especially for young people. I have played competitive sport all of my life so I know the benefits it can have. Obviously football is one of the traditional sports to be played in schools but it isn’t for everyone and there are loads of sports that are really easy to get involved in. If the Manchester United Foundation can attract more young people to sports that can only be a positive thing.”
Gail Emms said: “Manchester has a strong badminton legacy and the European Badminton Championships are coming up in April 2010. This is a great chance for young people across the city to access the sport and BADMINTON England are very grateful to have the support the Premier League and a team as prestigious as Manchester United.”
The London 2012 Olympics are only three years away and the Barclays Premier League is playing its part. Last season it announced that the clubs are to offer thousands of young people the chance to get involved in Olympic sports.
In a groundbreaking £3.8m partnership with the British Government, the ‘Premier League 4 Sport’ scheme sees all 20 clubs in the Barclays Premier League link up with community sport clubs to help attract young people in their area to take up badminton, judo, table tennis and volleyball.
The initiative is designed to help with the Government’s commitment to offer young people five hours of sport a week, as part of its 2012 legacy plans. It will also seek to address the drop-off in sport participation when young people leave secondary school.
Working with the grassroots sport delivery bodies, the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, the Premier League clubs’ aim is to get 25,000 young people, aged between 11 and 16, to join local sport clubs in the four Olympic sports during the two and a half-year scheme.
Each Barclays Premier League club is linking to four community sport clubs in their local area which will work in partnership with the football club. The 80 community sport clubs will be linked to four secondary schools in the area, creating a total of 320 satellite clubs across the country.
Each Barclays Premier League club will appoint a project coordinator who will manage the scheme locally and work with clubs and school sport partnerships to maximise opportunities for young people. Premier League 4 Sport builds on the success of the Premier League’s current community programme and aims to get children from all backgrounds involved in non-traditional, club-based sport.
Chief Executive John Shiels said: “The advent of the Premier League 4 Sport project is fantastic news for our region; we have seen first hand what investment and media attention can do for sports like cycling. Taking part in sport when you’re younger can have many benefits both mentally and physically, and these sports are relatively cheap to get into and ideally suited to mass participation. Using football as a way of connecting with young people has proved successful across many of our projects; hopefully we at Manchester United Foundation can encourage children who know Manchester United, but perhaps don’t want to play football, into playing sport.”
Scheme Coordinator Zeki Istanbul: “Since we have started the volleyball sessions we have had 50 young people attending at one of the centres, which is a great success and the popularity is down to hard work from all the partners. The fact that Manchester United are involved adds extra excitement for the kids, it is that hook that gets them interested and once they start playing they realise what fun it is.“
Principal Designate at the Manchester Health Academy, Barry Burke, said: “We are extremely delighted that Manchester United Foundation are supporting the Academy and we are looking forward to this event. We want to develop healthy living through sport and our links with the Foundation provide this opportunity at its very best. We are keen to work with the community for the benefit of the community.”
To take part in Premier League 4 Sport call Zeki Istanbul at the Cliff Training Ground on 0161708 9451.