Published

10 June 2022

The University of East London (UEL) and East London Sport hosted 280 primary school children from Newham at the SportInYourFutures festival to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games and introduce the next generation to a range of sports.

The innovative SportInYourFutures programme was launched to get more young people physically active and promote sports' social, well-being and community benefits. 

In the 2021/22 academic year alone, the programme has engaged more than 1,200 children from over 20 primary schools across Newham.

The Olympic legacy was the festival's central theme. It was held on Thursday 9 June, in SportsDock at UEL's Dockland campus. The venue was TeamUSA's training base for London 2012, with the school children playing on the same court as sporting legends like LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant.

The children explored sporting history, with items from the British Olympic Association archive collection (which is held by the University) on display, including the London 2012 Olympic torch, Sir Mo Farah's Team GB running top and other memorabilia from the iconic Olympics.

Advice from the greats

A special video with inspirational messages from sports stars past and present was shown to the excited audience, starting with England rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson reflecting on his own journey in sport, which included earning 91 caps for England and winning the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Jonny Wilkinson said: "My career in rugby has offered me so many incredible things, and perhaps the most important I think being it's taught me how to grow as an individual. It's also helped me to connect more deeply with others, and it's also given me more of an insight into how to make the most of every moment and appreciate life."

Bradley Kaboza, a professional basketball player for the London Lions and a current UEL student, mentioned the ups and downs you will have in sport. He highlighted the positives, including travelling opportunities and meeting great people. Bradley Kaboza reminded the children to "stay true to yourself, and hard work always pays off no matter what you do".

Judo silver medallist and UEL alumna Gemma Gibbons ended the video by reinforcing one of the critical messages of the day, telling the audience to "enjoy today, keep playing, keep competing, and most importantly, keep having fun."

In the main sporting arenas, the children participated in athletics, basketball, cricket and football. The activities were run by UEL high performance sport scholars, East London Sport staff and local Year 12 students. 

Bringing the pupils into UEL's world-class sports facilities and allowing them to directly speak with young adults to who they can relate aims to create positive behaviours or aspirations about careers in sport from a young age.

Kevine Kinzonzi, student and community development officer, who organised the SportInYourFutures festival and leads the SportInYourFutures programme, said: "Sport has the power to transform lives. It can help tackle issues around equality, poverty and obesity.

"Moving forward, we have many exciting plans for SportInYourFutures. We want to expand and grow the programme so thousands more school children can be exposed to the benefits of sport, from enabling individuals to improve their physical health and well-being, to allowing them to connect with people and most importantly have fun.”

Be part of the programme

If you would like to get involved in the SportInYourFuture programme, please email Kevine Kinzonzi at k.kinzonzi@uel.ac.uk.

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