Thursday 15 March 2012
Four youngsters representing Sunderland have qualified for the Fred Perry Urban Cup national finals at table tennis after overcoming stiff competition at the Club's home ground the Stadium of Light.
With Team GB table tennis hopeful Darius Knight in attendance cheering them on, local youngsters Jake Hannah, 14, Robert Renton, 12, Aimee Lambert, 12 and Kate Hannah, 12, discovered their talent for the sport in the Fred Perry Urban Cup.
This is a competition that sees every Barclays Premier League Club across the country link with local table tennis community clubs to encourage kids aged 11-14 to try out the sport, with the competition reaching over 100,000 youngsters nationwide.
As part of the Premier League 4 Sport initiative, Premier League football Clubs are offering thousands of young people the chance to get involved in table tennis in a £3.8m partnership with the Government and the Fred Perry Urban Cup.
The initiative looks to help the Government's ambition to offer young people five hours of sport a week, as part of its 2012 legacy plans.
"It's been great to witness some amazing future talent. I know what an amazing life-changing effect the sport can have"
Kevin Darke, Sunderland's Premier League 4 Sport Coordinator, said: "Our boys and girls all showed some fantastic skills to represent our Club - I think we uncovered some future table tennis champions.
"It was great to see them all excelling at a new sport and congratulations to everyone who took part. I look forward to taking our Sunderland boys and girls to the Fred Perry Urban Cup national finals and have high hopes for them against our Barclays Premier League rivals."
Three times national Under-21 table tennis champions Darius Knight added: "It's been great to witness some amazing future talent. The work that Fred Perry does to encourage grass roots table tennis initiative is something I fully support as from personal experience I know what a life-changing effect the sport can have for young people."
The winners will now travel to London on 3rd December to represent Sunderland at the Fred Perry Urban Cup finals at London's Business Design Centre.
Richard Martin, Head of Global Marketing at Fred Perry, said: "Last year's Fred Perry Urban Cup was an enormous success and I am really looking forward to seeing the finalists in action.
"Having given over 100,000 youngsters the opportunity to play table tennis, I am really looking forward to seeing the remaining 80 at the national finals. Fred Perry, the world table tennis champions of 1929, would be very proud."
The Fred Perry Urban Cup National Finals are open to the public. Visit this website for more information.