British sprint star Abi Oyepotan was in Peterborough recently trying to inspire youngsters to take up running.
She was at the Thomas Deacon Academy as part of a Sportivate beginners running project, one of the key initiatives to create a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Abi is one of Britain’s finest sprinters and has enjoyed much success on national, Commonwealth, European and world stages winning many medals along the way, including gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Now as a Sport England sporting champion she is hoping to help develop the next generation of British champions.
Abi said: “I really enjoyed my visit to Peterborough and seeing this exciting Sportivate running project in action.
“I was particularly impressed with how the Academy is working with young girls to try running and I hope sharing my experience of proudly representing Great Britain will encourage them to take part and enjoy the sport.
“Sportivate is a fantastic way of getting young people into sport and is something I am really passionate about. I hope that as a Sport England sporting champion, I can inspire young people to raise their aspirations of what they can achieve and motivate them to be the very best versions of themselves that they can be.”
Sportivate is the £56 million National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative that gives 11 to 25-year-olds who aren’t particularly sporty, coaching in a new sport and then helps them find low costs ways to continue to take part.
Jayne Molyneux, the Strategic Lead for Youth at Sport England, said: “It is great to see Abi helping to inspire young people to take part in this Sportivate initiative and we hope carrying on in a sport they may never have tried before.
“We have been delighted to work with the Greater Peterborough Athletics Network (GPAN) and the Thomas Deacon Academy to enable this visit to happen.
“The network, a partnership of six of the local running and athletic clubs in Peterborough, supported by England Athletics is the ideal pathway to give young people the opportunity to try running and then step into community sport and create a sporting habit for life.”
Tim Cook, chairman of GPAN, said: “These visits by elite athletes are hugely motivational and the clubs which make up the local network are united in wanting to provide the best opportunities for the young people.
“It’s been great having Abi in the city and we will continue to provide a gateway into running and athletics for young people to be the best they can.”