Sir Mo Farah urges young people to get moving

Image via Reuters Connect via Beat Media Group subscription
Image via Reuters Connect via Beat Media Group subscription

By James Reid

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah hopes a sparkling summer of sport can encourage more young people to get active.

Sir Mo became one of Great Britain’s most successful Olympians of all-time when he won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games.

The 41-year-old retired from competitive running at the Great North Run last year and has now turned his focus to inspiring the net generation to get moving.

Less than half of children are meeting the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity according to the Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, while under a third of parents are aware of the target.

With National School Sports Week set to take place between 17th-23rd June, Sir Mo has teamed up with national charity the Youth Sport Trust to try and get more kids moving.

“I’m really excited for National School Sports Week and getting as many young people involved as possible,” he said.

“We have an amazing summer of sport ahead of us with the EUROs and of course the Olympic and Paralympic Games which I know will inspire young people in the same way they inspired me as a kid.

“Over 4,000 schools have signed up already, but with one week to go we’d like to get as many schools from across the country involved as we can and ensure that every young person gets active for at least 60 minutes a day.”

The Youth Sport Trust are set to celebrate National School Sports Week by delivering 'Monster Kickabout Mash Up' sessions up and down the country, with sporting stars such as Olympic gold medallist Katharine Grainger amongst those involved.

The scheme is in response to the worrying figures around children’s exercise, with just 47% of 5-18-year-olds meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation of 60 minutes of activity a day.

The Youth Sport Trust is encouraging young people to sign up to be active for an hour a day and has made free resources and equipment available.

And Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver hopes the awareness raised during National School Sports Week can create some lasting change in the health and wellbeing of young people across the country.

She said: “It’s more important than ever to inspire children and young people, supported by schools and their parents, to be more active.

“National School Sports Week provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to find an activity they love so they begin to feel the benefits of an active lifestyle.

“At a time when too many children and young people have poor wellbeing, are distracted by digital devices, or lack the resilience to cope with the demands of life, we need more parents and educators to be aware of the daily recommendations and the essential role physical activity plays in tackling these social problems.

"The week itself runs alongside the kick off of the men’s EUROs, and so we’ve teamed up with Sports Direct’s Monster Kick About campaign to inspire children to play fun, football based mash-up games like foot tennis, foot mini-golf and even football athletics!

“Schools are key to getting children moving and with the general election now less than a month away, we hope politicians will prioritise the role of physical activity and sport in schools, we must never forget movement is fundamental to normal growth and development. Active and well schools create healthy and happy learners while sport can be a powerful antidote to the social and cultural gaps created by disadvantage.”