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- 01 September 2014 00:00
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- Last Modified: 01 September 2014 05:47
New research has revealed that the Sport England Sporting Champions initiative has enabled athlete role models to inspire and raise the aspirations of over 15,000 young people in 90 visits to the Sainsbury’s School Games this year.
The Sporting Champions programme is designed to inspire and motivate young people and young adults by bringing them face-to-face with elite world-class athletes.
Over the past year, the Sporting Champions have been deployed at the grassroots levels of the Sainsbury’s School Games (Levels 1 to 3) where intra-school competition, local inter-school competition and School Games Festivals have taken place across England.
The attendance of the Sporting Champions at the Sainsbury’s School Games means that over 15,000 young people have had the chance to interact with a world-class athlete and provide them with memories that they will always treasure.
"It has been great to see so many Sporting Champions inspiring Young People in the Sainsbury’s School Games this year,” said Sport England’s Head of School Sport Will Parker.
"The personal moments that the athletes share with young people can make such a difference to their enthusiasm and attitude.
"The Champions know how to raise young people’s aspirations; whether that is to win their competition; or just to do a bit better than they have done in the past.”
With Levels 1 to 3 of the 2014 Sainsbury’s School Games now over, this year’s competition will draw to a spectacular finale with Level 4, which is a major, multi-sport event.
This year, the Level 4 Sainsbury’s School Games finals will take place in Manchester from September 4-7 and will see around 1,600 of the nation’s finest young athletes of school age compete across 12 Olympic and Paralympic sports.
The Level 4 multi-sport event in Manchester will see Sainsbury’s School Games Alumni including heptathlon star Katarina Johnson Thompson and Paralympic swimming icon Ellie Simmonds provide further inspiration to the young athletes.
But it is clear that the inspiration provided by the Sporting Champions at Levels 1 to 3 this year will never be forgotten.
Audrajean Elliott-Davies, the School Games Organiser for the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sainsbury’s School Games outlined just how big an impact Sporting Champion Mark Fosbrook, the GB wheelchair basketball star, made at the event.
"Mark was extremely helpful in interacting with some young disabled participants who did not feel confident enough to take part in their competition,” said Elliott-Davies.
"Mark was able to inspire these young people and even took them to their competition to watch and support them.”
Throughout Levels 1-3 of the Sainsbury’s School Games, young people tweeted about being captivated by the stories of the Sporting Champions and about the impact the athlete role models made on their enjoyment of the events.
There was also a variety of messages across social media about the personal challenges they have started to work towards to achieve their own goals because of their meeting with the athlete role model.
"The Sporting Champion has made me want to do more sports and try out new things,” said 10-year-old competitor attending a Sainsbury’s School Games Level 2 event.
To view a video of the Sporting Champions in action at the Sainsbury’s School Games, Click Here