Paralympic fever inspires a new generation

British kids keen to play more Paralympic sports

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Sainsbury’s Million Kids Challenge has enabled 2.4 million British children to play a Paralympic sport and over 1.8 million want to play more

·Sainsbury’s Million Kids Challenge has facilitated the training of 20,000 teachers in 8,000 British schools, enabling 2.4m children to participate in a Paralympic sport

·Over three quarters (78%) of children aged 8-15 inspired to play more Paralympic sports

·62% of British children are excited about watching Paralympic events this summer

· One in five kids will be glued to TV screens on ‘Super’ Saturday 8th September, watching swimming legend, Ellie Simmonds, MBE and Sainsbury’s Active Kids ambassador, in the 100m freestyle

 

Paralympic fever is gripping school children across the UK with over three quarters (78%) of British kids who have had the chance to try a Paralympic sport wanting to do it again. What’s more, over half (52%) of those children would like to try a different Paralympic sport as well, according to research published today by Sainsbury’s – the first ever Paralympics only sponsor¹. Through its Million Kids Challenge, as part of its Active Kids Challenge, Sainsbury’s has worked with the British Paralympic Association to send schools, clubs and organisations across the UK Paralympic Sports Kits, enabling 2.4 million British children to participate in Paralympic sports ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

 

The survey of British children aged 8-15 reveals their strength of knowledge around the Paralympic Games and their excitement about the Games coming to London this summer. One in five kids (21%) surveyed know that the Paralympics originated in the UK (The Games were founded at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948)² and almost two thirds (62%) were able to name the Paralympic event that they are looking forward to watching. What’s more, almost half (47%) of British parents questioned said their children are excited about the Paralympics coming to the capital³.

 

‘Super’ 8th September is set to be the most exciting day for young British Paralympic Games fans. Millions of pairs of children’s eyes will be glued to TV screens as the most highly anticipated event amongst kids is set to be Ellie Simmonds in the 100m freestyle on the 8th September – with one in five children (19%) saying they are most excited about watching this, followed closely by Oscar Pistorius in the Men’s 400m on the same day. Other events set to be popular amongst British children are Wheelchair Tennis and Cycling Track.

 

Children’s knowledge of Paralympic athletes is encouragingly strong, with one in five (20%) being able to identify their favourite British Paralympic athlete. The most popular British Paralympian amongst the children surveyed is Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson – the 11-time gold medallist and former wheelchair racer. Ellie Simmonds, MBE – the Sainsbury’s Active Kids ambassador who won 2 gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics aged just 13 – came a close second and the ‘Blade-Runner,’ Oscar Pistorius, is the third most popular.

 

Jat Sahota, Head of sponsorship, Sainsbury’s says, “It’s great to see the whole nation getting really excited about the London 2012 Paralympic Games and we are proud to be leading the cheer through our unique sponsorship of the Games, our One Million Kids Challenge and our support for the ParalympicsGB Team. We believe this Paralympic Games is set to be the best ever.”

 

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of The British Paralympic Association, comments on the research findings, “Working with Sainsbury’s to raise children’s awareness of Paralympics sports across the UK through the Million Kids Challenge really seems to have had an effect. It’s great to see young Paralympic fans emerging across the UK and having Britain as the host nation has a huge part to play.”

 

Paralympian and Active Kids ambassador, Ellie Simmonds says, “I can hardly believe the Paralympic Games 2012 is just around the corner and I’m completely overwhelmed by all the support and excitement that’s already brewing across the UK. Knowing that so many British children are behind ParalympicsGB is what’s going to make the event even more special – we can’t wait to get out there and hopefully inspire a new generation.

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