By Tom Degun
June 14 - Sport England has today launched a £32 million ($52 million) National Lottery-funded project to get hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults into sport as part of a new programme aiming to fulfil the legacy promise made by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to "inspire young people to choose sport".
The new project called Sportivate will give 14-to-25-year-olds who aren't currently playing sport in their own time the chance to receive six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice.
As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, Sportivate is aiming to see 300,000 teenagers and young adults completing sports courses over the next four years.
"Lots of young people think sport isn't for them," said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.
"I would like them to have the chance to discover whether there is a sport they really enjoy, so this programme is all about choice.
"Everyone who takes part will receive high quality coaching - giving them the confidence and skills that will make them want to keep playing in the future."
Sportivate will be delivered by the network of 49 county sports partnerships who will work with local providers and sports clubs to help the youngsters continue taking part long after they have completed their course.
To help inspire and motivate the participants, Sporting Champions - a team of current and retired elite athletes - will visit Sportivate sessions to share their experiences and enthusiasm for sport.
Sport and the Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: "This £32 million ($52 million) Lottery programme launched by Sport England will give hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country the opportunity to try out and get coached in the sport of their choice.
"I'm sure these same young people will also be inspired when the world's greatest athletes compete here at next summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games and will then want to stay involved in sport for many years to come."
The move was also backed by London 2012 hopeful Zoe Smith (pictured) who became the youngest ever weightlifting Commonwealth medallist when she won bronze at the 2010 Delhi Games at the age of 16.
"Getting the chance to get out and try a new sport is fantastic," she said.
"I didn't take up my sport until I was 12 so it just shows if you're up for some fun and trying something new, you can find a sport you really want to stick with."
As an additional incentive, teenagers and young adults who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets.
Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.
In order to be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to participate in sport for at least three months.
Sportivate is an inclusive programme that will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled participants, while courses on offer include eight-week beginners' judo tuition in Lincoln, mixed tennis sessions for 17-to-24-year-olds in Newcastle upon Tyne and a parkour introductory course at Waveney in Suffolk.
In total, Sport England will invest £8 million ($13 million) of National Lottery funding per year over the next four years into Sportivate.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org