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Former Olympian Darren Campbell heads campaign to get kids active

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 April 2015

Olympic athlete Darren Campbell with his gold medal

Olympic athlete Darren Campbell with his gold medal

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A former Olympic champion is heading up a programme to encourage more children to take part in sports - and is backing the Recorder's Get Active campaign.

Olympic athlete Darren Campbell at Sandringham schoolOlympic athlete Darren Campbell at Sandringham school

Darren Campbell MBE met 40 pupils at Sandringham Primary School, Forest Gate, on Thursday last week to promote Premier Sport’s Inspire to Engage programme.

The courses are designed to give children of all abilities the opportunity to have fun and enjoy being active whilst providing a range of activities including football, hockey and dance.

Britain’s sixth fastest sprinter, who has won more than 21 medals including 4x100m relay gold from the 2004 Athens Olympics, spoke to the children about his own career before delivering a coaching session which included tips on how to run faster.

“I want to inspire young people but the key message is that sport is fun,” Darren said.

“Inspire to Engage introduces young people to many different types of sport which is so important as it gives them a chance to find a sport they love.

“Ninety nine per cent of athletes started off because they had a love for their sport.”

Darren set his sights on becoming a professional runner aged eight, when his mum told him he had the talent to become an athlete after watching him at his school’s sports day.

It took 20 years to achieve his goals and in 2005 he was awarded an MBE for services to athletics.

The former Team GB sprinter said: “The key ingredients for success include focus, determination, perseverance, and of course the desire to achieve your dreams. But this message can be applied to all career paths, not just to sport.”

The training session at the Sandringham Road school was especially relevant as Newham was recently rated the least active borough in the UK, something the Recorder has been helping to tackle with its own Get Active campaign.

“It’s fantastic what the Recorder is doing with its Get Active campaign,” said Darren. “There is a sport for everyone, from walking to the weird and wonderful Football Golf. Sport isn’t just about going to the gym.

“If the Recorder is getting active then there’s no excuse for anyone else not to either.”

Inspire to Engage hosts sessions around the country during school lunch breaks, after school and through the summer holidays, delivering 7,000 days of activity per year.

Thousands more children can now benefit this summer as confectionary company Chewits, which has partnered with Premier Sport, has provided 10,000 free places on holiday courses.

Darren said: “I think the summer sessions are important as some kids become a little lost when they lose their daily structure.”

Register at inspiretoengage-summer15.org to claim a holiday course.

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