Boxer Jon Thaxton urges youngsters to give sports a go

Youngsters in Norfolk were today urged to give new sports a go as part of a new initiative backed by former boxer Jon Thaxton.

Sportivate was launched by Sport England and Active Norfolk to encourage people aged between 14 and 25 who are not playing sport in their own time to try new activities.

The sports programme aims to fulfil the promise made by Seb Coe in Singapore in 2005 to 'inspire young people to choose sport'.

A total of �480,000 of Lottery investment in Norfolk over the next four years will see 4,400 local people taking part in sports including kayaking, climbing, kite surfing and zumba.

The kayaking course, which is run at Broadland Paddlesport, Girlings Lane, off Yarmouth Road, consists of a two-hour session a week for four weeks. Following an assessment at the end of the course, people can get a level one award.

Norwich boxer Jon Thaxton said: 'Sport gets you out and about and people can make new friends. You can set yourself challenges and you can do it for fun and enjoyment.

'There are so many different sports available now and it is about finding which one is for you.

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'People should do it for fun, for the challenge and to meet new people and to take friends along with you. There are so many sports available, if one doesn't suit you, try something else.

'I think some youngsters need a push from their parents, friends or teachers to get out and about and experiment with different sports. They might not know what's on their doorstep.'

Director of Active Norfolk, Laurie Hull, added: 'We are inviting clubs to put things on. We are looking to work directly with businesses to run this with their employees.

'Young people are being given the opportunity to try something new. It is good for their lifestyle and it is an opportunity to try something at a very low cost.'

Mr Hull said the aim of the initiative was to recruit young adults into sports and to continue their interest in it after the Olympics.

Kelly Barkway, paddle sports coach at Broadland Paddle Sport, said: 'The course teaches them safety rather than just buying a kayak and going out in the water.'

Ed Dade, 25, from Carrow Hill, Norwich, said: 'I did the level one course and I really want to continue and to do the level two. Once I have got the level two, I can join a club. I brought a couple of friends along and they were really keen.'

Has sport changed your life? Contact Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email lucy.wright@archant.co.uk.

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