UK Sport, the official arm of the British Government promoting sports in its country, is slowly, but surely creating an impact on the lives of 12 million children across 20 countries thus bringing to reality the ‘Singapore Vision’ of the London 2012 bid team — “to reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.”
The International Inspiration Programme, which was announced in January 2008, has been one of the key initiatives of the London 2012 legacy plan successfully piloted by UK Sport in five countries, including India, before being extended to other parts of the world.
The programme aims to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of children and young people of all abilities, in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.
Briefing visiting journalists from eight countries including India, at London last fortnight, on the key points of the programme, Debbie Lye, Director, International Inspiration with UK Sport, said the target of 12 million children and 20 countries have already been met.
Her organisation was now working to ensure that the programme leaves behind a suitable legacy that lasts beyond the final year of the project in 2014.
“This is for the first time that an Olympic and Paralympic host city has implemented an international legacy programme on this scale and one which has received the formal support of both the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.”
Ms. Lye said although the programme had now ended in India, its spirit and ethos will continue for a long time to come.
The programme was able to create a huge impact in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai and in the rural areas of States like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
“With our support, the Government of India’s ‘Sports for All’ project known as PYKKA (Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan) has also received a tremendous boost.
“More than 30,000 community coaches, trained as part of the programme, are currently working with an estimated 1.5 million children in rural communities across India,” she said.
As a new initiative, UK Sport would also be involved in a swimming project at Kollam in Kerala, to be launched in June this year.
“One of our representatives will be visiting Kerala next month to work out the modalities of the scheme with a prominent NGO and work with the community over there to help train children of the area the basics of swimming.”
UK Sport, she said, was also interested in involving itself with the Indian government and States for the development of competitive sports in the country.
“One area where we can work is to develop sustainable training models and help coaches in adapting themselves to the latest techniques.
“Our motto is to help people pursue sport and make the world a better place to live,” Ms. Lye said.