27 Nov 12

Paralympian to launch EDF Energy Athletics Challenge for London schools

London 2012 official partner to help London youngsters train with top coaches

Budding athletes from schools and colleges in London are to compete in the EDF Energy Athletics Challenge.

The challenge, developed by the EDF Energy Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network, has been launched with the Team Falola Trust, to provide youngsters at six London schools and colleges the chance to receive top class coaching, develop life skills, explore career opportunities within the energy industry and come together and compete at a final at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre next spring.

London 2012 Paralympian bronze medallist Ola Abidogun will launch the challenge, bringing together students, coaches and representatives of EDF Energy, at the Grange Hotel in Holborn, on Thursday (Nov 29). It will include fun sporting competitions and the chance to discuss career opportunities.

Taking part in the challenge are Leyton and Newham Sixth Form Colleges, Barking and Dagenham College, Hackney Community College, Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Redcoat School in Stepney, Tower Hamlets.

Born in Ilford, Ola Abidogun made his Paralympic debut at London 2012, winning a bronze medal in the T46 men’s 100m final in a time of 11.23 seconds.

Ola said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the EDF Energy Athletics Challenge. London 2012 took athletics in this country to a new level and initiatives like this are just what we need if we are going to turn the incredible enthusiasm displayed in the summer into opportunities for young people. Working with the Team Falola Trust means top coaches will be giving everyone involved the best possible start to what hopefully will be their long association with athletics.”

Tim Boylin, EDF Energy HR and Safety Director and sponsor of EDF Energy Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network, said: “This is all about EDF Energy helping to inspire a generation following the incredible success of the Games. As a London 2012 official partner, we want to use sport to inspire youngsters in ways that provide invaluable life skills and opportunities to become better people.

“I hope those involved will take inspiration from the Games, develop self-discipline, teamwork and a competitive spirit that will help them fulfil their ambitions in the future. I’m sure they will rise to the challenge.”

Coaching will begin in December and progress through the spring term, with the teams coming together for the final in March. The focus will be on the long jump, javelin, 60m and 800m track events and 4x200m relay. Careers talks, job interview practice and other support will be offered to every school and college, providing personal and career development opportunities for wider student groups.

Ian Ashman, principal at Hackney Community College, said: “We’re thrilled to be taking part in another 2012 project. The Games have brought so much to our students, staff and local community and we’re excited about continuing their legacy.”

Team Falola Trust promotes athletics through grassroots programmes, education and corporate partners. Educational programmes aim to attract youngsters to the sport through inspiring and motivational means. The trust also supports up and coming athletes.

Ayo Falola, Director of Team Falola Trust, said: “We're delighted to be working with EDF Energy on this exciting challenge. Our coaches will be working hard with the students to help them fulfil their potential, increase their confidence and help them realise dreams. At the same time we will be promoting the sport of athletics alongside a long term supporter of sport in EDF Energy.”

The project builds on the work EDF Energy has been doing in London through its three-year Legacy Champions community project with a dozen schools and colleges, and the EDF Rowing Community Challenge, which saw youngsters work with London Youth Rowing, Olympians and Paralympians before competing at the London 2012 Eton Dorney venue ahead of the Games.

The energy company is also working with Cheltenham Science Festival’s Famelab Academy, launched earlier this month to get young people into STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – across Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Waltham Forest and Newham.