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Sporting youngsters learn from champion athletes

20 January 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan hosts Young Ambassadors event

Preston’s young sports enthusiasts have discovered what it takes to be a sports leader from two champions who have made their marks in judo and professional skating.

Great Britain Olympic Judo Fighter Sophie Cox joined the world’s number one female inline skater and ten times British Champion Jenna Downing at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to share their expertise with the region’s most promising young athletes and coaches.

Over 130 children from the region who are deemed to be the most outstanding sports leaders in their schools attended the Young Ambassador Conference at UCLan.

Not only did they learn from the expertise of Sophie and Jenna they also took part in a range of physical activities at UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre to improve their skills as young leaders. This included learning how to teach Handball and Key Stage 1 PE such as ball handling and agility to primary school children.

Speaking at the event Sophie Cox commented: “It takes confidence, determination and integrity to be successful in sport and we’ve met a lot of young people today who are highly motivated with lots of potential.

“It’s been fantastic to meet the athletes and also speak to other like-minded young people who are passionate about sport.”

“Today we’ve shared our sporting journeys and hopefully helped the Young Ambassadors understand how transferable their skills are for whatever goals they set.”

Broughton High School pupil 14-year-old Madeline Bennett already coaches netball in a primary school. She said: “It’s been fantastic to meet the athletes and also speak to other like-minded young people who are passionate about sport.”

Conference organiser Elaine Smith from Southlands High School said the event proved to be a big hit with the attendees. “The Young Ambassador Conference is a great opportunity to bring young leaders together to develop their skills and offer them guidance. Everyone seems to have got a lot out of the event and I want to thank UCLan for hosting it.”

The Young Ambassador Programme is a UK wide project that selects the most outstanding pupils in schools for both their sporting talents and commitment to volunteering as young leaders. Young Ambassadors are expected to act as role models in promoting PE and school sport and help to increase participation and healthy lifestyles in their schools.