Five global champions support IAAF / Nestlé Kids Athletics in Sochi
Situated directly in the front of the entrance to ExpoCentre in the Sochi Winter Olympic Park, a high profile demonstration of IAAF / Nestlé Kids’ Athletics, which is one of the biggest grassroots development programmes in the world of sports, took place this afternoon (21).
The event was hosted by IAAF President Lamine Diack and two 800m running greats, Denmark’s three-time world champion Wilson Kipketer and Russia’s 2004 Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, acting in the role of IAAF Ambassadors.
The IAAF / Nestlé Kids’ Athletics event was the ‘must be there’ event of the day in Sochi, attracting as it did the presence of three other distinguished global champions: Gabriela Szabo, Tatyana Lebedeva and Koji Murofushi. Also giving his support to the two-hour demonstration was Svein-Arne Hansen, the newly elected President of European Athletics.
Yet the focus was of course on the main participants, the children. Six teams of kids aged 12 years old drawn from Sochi schools took part in a series of seven fun activities which covered the core skills of athletics: running, jumping and throwing. 12 athletics coaches were on hand to direct the kids through the programme of IAAF / Nestlé Kids’ Athletics, which was organised with the marvellous assistance of IAAF Regional Development Centre, Moscow and its Director Vadim Zelichenok and Gϋnter Lange from the IAAF Development Department.
President Diack, Kipketer and Borzakovskiy begun the afternoon talking to the children about their own experiences as athletes and what had motivated them to take up athletics and continue to pursue a healthy life style long after retirement from competition. They signed autographs and helped to distribute T-Shirts, certificates and colourful IAAF Kids Athletics and IAAF Athletics for a Better World wristbands.
While their fellow champions looked on amused, the competitive natures of the two 800m runners, who incidentally remain the two fastest ever humans over the distance when run indoors, eventually could not be subdued. Unable to resist showing off their abilities in some of the seven events, the afternoon came to a climax with a light-hearted hurdles race. It was a near dead heat with Kipketer, who only arrived in Sochi late last night, the narrow victor.
Created in 2005, and since 2012 partnered by “Nestlé Healthy Kids”, Kids’ Athletics is a worldwide sports development programme with the mission to make athletics the No.1 physical activity in schools.
Nestlé, which is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company with 339,000 employees worldwide, became the main sponsor of Kids’ Athletics in January 2012 agreeing a five-year sponsorship with the IAAF.
The IAAF’s objectives for Kids’ Athletics, which has so far been activated in more than 120 of the IAAF’s 214 national member federations worldwide, are to make athletics the No.1 participation sport in schools, promoting a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and attracting the potential sports stars of tomorrow.