Wednesday 04 December 2013
One of the objectives of the Premier League 4 Sport programme when it was established in 2009 was to help the legacy of sports from the 2012 Olympic Games.
Among the most successful Olympic disciplines for Great Britain at the London Games was the oldest sport of them all, athletics. Six medals were won by British athletes inside the Olympic Stadium, four of which were gold, including Mo Farah's double.
The Premier League is helping young people who were inspired by those they saw on the track and field of the stadium last year with the expansion of its PL4Sport programme to include athletics this year.
Clubs offering athletics under PL4Sport
Queens Park Rangers
West Ham United
One of the clubs to offer local youngsters in the community the opportunity to try out athletics is, appropriately enough, Wigan Athletic.
The FA Cup holders invited local Olympian Jenny Meadows to help launch the scheme and the former 800 metres runner was joined by first-team stars Grant Holt and James McArthur.
Coaching sessions were held for local young people aged 14-18 from Deanery High School, Meadows' alma mater, at the Robin Park's Arena and Holt and McArthur acted as timekeepers for races involving before trying out the javelin.
"It is fantastic to see young people enjoying athletics, something which has brought me so much success and enjoyment so far in my career," said Meadows, who won world and European bronze at 800 metres. "We have lots of talented young athletes in the area and with Wigan Athletic providing extra sessions through the Premier League 4 Sport programme I really want to make sure these young people are given as many opportunities as possible in athletics."
Since Wigan Athletic Community Trust started running the PL4S from 2009, the programme has grown to the level where 400 people are trying different six sports (basketball, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, tennis and athletics) in 20 sessions at various venues around the town.
The aim is to use the power and the organisation of Wigan Athletic and its trust, backed by funds from the Premier League and Sport England, to encourage local youngsters to try the sports, with the hope that, in time, they will join local clubs in one or more of the disciplines.
To have someone like Jenny come to sessions to help inspire young athletes was fantastic.
"Grant and James got stuck in as well and hopefully athletics will prove to be just as successful as the other sports we deliver through Premier League 4 Sport."
For more information about the Premier League 4 Sport programme at Wigan contact Chris Pearce on 01942 488 530. Thirty-four clubs run PL4S programmes. For more information click on the link to the club nearest to you.