PL4Sport programme celebrates busy season
Premier League 4 Sport
During the final months of the season, Arsenal in the Community has engaged in a number of different activities across the Premier League 4 Sport initiative, bringing to an end a busy season with events across the six sports that currently make up Arsenal’s involvement in the programme – table tennis, badminton, judo, volleyball, netball and hockey.
Involving more than 200 boys and girls and taking place at locations across the country, the events have showcased the breadth and diversity of the Club’s involvement in the initiative, which aims to boost sports participation among young people in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Across the season, the new Arsenal Community Table Tennis Club has entered four teams into the National Junior League, run across London. After the success of last season’s Arsenal Community teams, the squads were hoping for a similar showing this time around and did not disappoint, winning the Division 3 A-League after a series of excellent matches.
Steve Achille, Arsenal in the Community coach said: “I am really proud of the boys. They needed to win their final games and did so playing really well. They put some pressure on themselves and came through. They need to continue to work hard and train well in order to progress as they definitely have the talent.”
Arsenal also performed admirably in defending their London PL4S Table Tennis Cup recently, finishing fourth overall with a squad for whom many were playing their first ever competitive table tennis matches – many against quality and more experienced opposition.
After the success of the boys in the PL4S National Badminton Competition in February, the West Midlands and South Badminton Championships took place at Aston Villa recently. Four teams from Camden School for Girls and St Aloysius College in Islington travelled to Birmingham City University for a friendly tournament with Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Brom, Spurs and Chelsea.
As with most competitions, Arsenal fielded new participants in their squads to allow everyone to experience the chance to play for their club. Despite losing to the eventual winners Aston Villa, the boys showed excellent fighting spirit and all of the teams commented on how yet again the Arsenal teams were always respectful and giving themselves and the Club a good reputation - definitely 'The Arsenal Way'.
After the tournament, all the players and supporters were able to watch the YONEX All England Badminton Championships at the NIA, seeing some of the best players from around the world in competitive action.
Twelve participants from the Arsenal Disability Programme’s The Leighton Project and the Elfrieda Society recently enjoyed a PL4S taster session in judo. Held in the local Sobell Leisure Centre, the group learned the basics of judo as well as the importance of key factors such as balance, flexibility and self-control.
Dinesh Vijayan, Arsenal in the Community Disability Football Officer, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the young people of the Leighton Project to experience a different sport, other than the Football they play with Arsenal in the Community, with some fantastic and very experienced Judo Coaches. They enjoyed the day thoroughly and hopefully it is something that they will look to follow up in the future.
"One of the aims of our project is to increase the participation of disabled people in sports and to help them develop healthy lifestyles through sports as hobbies.”
This is the first of a number of ‘taster’ sessions involving the Club’s community groups and the PL4S sports.
The Club also recently held its second ‘Kyu’ grading at the Capital London Judo Club at Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, with 21 ‘judoka’ successfully collecting their red and yellow belts after completing a range of judo techniques including throws, hold downs and escapes.
Gabor Szanyi-Nagy, CLJC Head Coach and examiner was very pleased with the effort and performance of all participants, “I thought all of the participants did excellently. In order to pass the grading, we ensure that the Judoka can expertly demonstrate the required skills without assistance, something they all managed which was great to see. They can now start working towards their next belt!”
London 2012 star and Arsenal fan Yassir Sliti recently visited young volleyball players on the PL4S programme, when he popped into Emirates Stadium for a tour and to talk to the young volleyballers about his career, aspirations and advice on what it takes to get to the top during a special Q&A session.
Yassir plays professional volleyball for Rottenburg in Germany, having previously played for Arsenal’s community HUB club, the London Lynx. He was part of the GB squad that took part in the London Prepares Series at Earls Court last year and is hoping to be part of the Olympic squad for the 2012 Games.
During March, 40 of Islington and Camden’s Young Leaders were also given the chance to take part in their Volleyball Young Officials course. The boys and girls gave up their own time in order to learn a number of crucial aspects to their sport, namely rules, health and safety, hand signals, small coaching points and scoring systems. The young officials will now umpire in a number of events from local schools competitions to borough wide volleyball matches and the London Youth Games.
As part of the newly-established PL4S Netball programme, netball is one of the four new sports added to the initiative thanks to an additional £2 million of funding through the Premier League Creating Chances programme. Arsenal in the Community recently organised a number of inter satellite club netball tournaments at Islington Netball Club.
To date, over 70 girls have taken part across five different clubs and seven schools. Recent trials have also taken place to determine a number of teams for the London Youth Games and also the PL4S Netball National Tournament in London on May 31 with Liverpool, West Brom, Fulham and Hull City joining the hosts, Arsenal.
Alan Sefton, Head of Arsenal in the Community, added: “It was great to see so many girls taking part in these recent tournaments. Netball, being one of the recent editions to the PL4S programme, has started really well. A big thank you must go to Alesia Carrington from Islington Netball Club and Elaine Smith from England Netball for all of their support in coaching and organising these events.”
For more information on Premier League 4 Sport and how you can get involved, please contact Ross McKinley on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 704 4147.