Thursday, February 26, 2009

Emms to lead Masterclass on Sky Sports

Olympic medallist Gail Emms will lead a badminton masterclass to mark her new role as an athlete mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport. The masterclass for young people from Idsall School, Shropshire will take place at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Monday 2 March, ahead of the All England Open from 3 to 8 March, which will be shown live on Sky Sports.

Sky Sports Living for Sport is a programme for secondary schools in the UK that uses sport to motivate and inspire young people who are at risk of opting out of school life. The free scheme for 11 to 16 year olds was created by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with Sky.

The badminton masterclasss, led by Gail Emms alongside National Head Coach Ian Wright, will take eight young people from Idsall School in Shropshire through badminton basics before putting them into singles and doubles matches. The young people will be encouraged to learn new skills from the athletes and discover the enjoyment that can be gained from taking part in sport.

Gail joins a team of athlete mentors led by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell, who provide help and advice to youngsters involved with the programme. The other mentors include:

• Nicola Minichiello, Bobsleigh, World Championship medallist and Olympian
• Helene Raynsford, Rowing, Paralympic medallist
• Joe Glanfield, Sailing, Olympic medallist
• Craig Heap, Gymnastics, Olympian and commonwealth medallist
• Tom Davis, Judo; 2012 hopeful
• Rachael Mackenzie, World Nr.1 Thai Boxer
• Tim Prendergast, Athletics (Middle distance), Paralympics medallist
• Michelle Robinson, Athletics (Triple Jump), Olympian
• Kerry Jane Williams, England Hockey, 2012 Hopeful
• Adam Whitehead, Swimming, Olympian and commonwealth medallist

Sky Sports Living for Sport is supported by the department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and encourages pupils to learn new sports and get involved in different activities connected with sport such as organising and running sports related events to develop new skills and confidence. Teachers use the scheme to help pupils work towards measurable self-development goals that help build interpersonal and leadership skills.

17,000 young people in over 600 schools have benefitted since the programme began in 2003 and over 200 schools have already signed up this year. The ambition of the project is for 2,000 schools and 30,000 young people to register with Sky Sports Living for Sport by 2012 and to build the activities into curricular and extra curricular activities.

Gail Emms, Sky Sports Living for Sport athlete mentor commented: “I am really looking forward to visiting schools and mentoring young people involved with the Sky Sports Living for Sport scheme. I was helped by a variety of people throughout my career and fully appreciate how positive an effect mentoring and sport can have on young people. The badminton masterclass should be a great introduction to the initiative for me.”

An independent study on the impact of Sky Sports Living for Sport carried out by The Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University provides some very encouraging figures: 68.7% of teachers reported the project had a positive impact on reducing bullying in their schools and 80% of pupils sustained positive impact at 12 and 24 months after the end of the project.*

Sky Sports has scheduled more than 20 hours of coverage of the All England Open including 15 hours of live coverage across the three days of competitive matches. Live coverage is as follows:

Friday 6 March Day One 5.30pm – 10.30pm Sky Sports 3
Saturday 7 March Day Two 12.30pm – 5.30pm Sky Sports Xtra
Sunday 8 March Day Three 12.30pm – 5.30pm Sky Sports Xtra