With less than a year to go, families across England are getting active together in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – in an initiative supported by ukactive.
Lewis Street Primary School in Salford welcomed Taekwondo Olympic bronze medallist Bianca Walkden and para cycling gold medallist Lora Fachie to celebrate their accomplishments in the Travel to Tokyo programme.
With more than 30,000 children and family members in 1,183 teams already involved and logging activity, they have been the first of many schools to earn a special visit from Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Families, teachers and pupils all came out to enjoy the athlete-led activities in Lewis Street Primary School, The National Taekwondo Centre and at Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre.
Travel to Tokyo aims to inspire children aged five to 11 and their families to try new activities and get active together in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
By joining athletes on an active journey from London to Tokyo, participants will be in with the chance to win some fantastic prizes as young people work together to reach the December 2020 finish line.
The programme is part of Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme, with £2.6 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England.
A “wake and shake” session led by Jack Shakespeare, ukactive’s Director of Children, Young People, Families and Research, helped to get pupils and their families and teachers into an active mood.
They then tried out some 10-minute activities that are specially designed to keep teams moving whatever the weather. Families then experienced what it takes to be a world-class Para cyclist in an activity led by Paralympian Lora Fachie.
Travel to Tokyo is designed for everyone to get involved with. Even 10 minutes of activity counts and can be logged for Travel to Tokyo by children and their families. By finding their new favourite activities, families can join in the fun while building long-term healthy habits.
Jack Shakespeare, ukactive Director of Children, Young People, Families and Research, said: “It is fantastic to see this incredible programme connect with communities through the inspiration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Together with leisure providers across the nation, our sports stars can help to inspire children, young people and families to have fun being more active on a daily basis.”
Lora Fachie said: “It’s great to see a new generation of young people so exciting about getting active thanks to Travel to Tokyo. It has such a positive message in that pupils and their families can find their own favourite ways to get active and that there is a sport or activity for everyone out there and it’s just about finding it.”
Some lucky families got the chance to join Bianca at the National Taekwondo Centre to see what it takes to train for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
These taster sessions are available throughout the programme to give families the chance to try out new activities in sports clubs and facilities across the country.
Bianca Walkden said: “It’s great to be in Manchester and supporting a local school who have done such a fantastic job with Travel to Tokyo.
“My advice is to try new activities. It’s important to shake up your routine and find new ways to get active so I’d encourage everyone to try all that’s on offer in the Travel to Tokyo programme.”
GB Taekwondo’s Chief Executive Officer, Matt Archibald, said: “It’s been great to provide the youngsters and their families with the opportunity to try some Taekwondo in such an inspiring environment, where Olympians, Paralympians and World Champions train together daily.
“With the inclusion of Para Taekwondo at Tokyo 2020, there’s potential to encourage a new generation to get active with athletes such as, World Number One, Amy Truesdale and reigning World Champion, Matt Bush leading the charge.”
The day finished at Salford Community Leisure’s Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre. Leisure staff joined Lora Fachie to deliver the final set of activities of the day, with all participants receiving a free family swim voucher.
This is one of many leisure centres opening its doors and providing exclusive offers for Travel to Tokyo participants across the country.
Inspired by the day, participants went home and committed to log the day’s and future activities for Travel to Tokyo, on the Get Set website.