Seb Coe's call to Suffolk's youngsters

SEBASTIAN Coe today called on Ipswich's young people to give themselves the chance to fulfil an Olympic dream.The London 2012 chairman spoke directly to children in the town and urged them to discover the wonders of sport.

SEBASTIAN Coe today called on Ipswich's young people to give themselves the chance to fulfil an Olympic dream.

The London 2012 chairman spoke directly to children in the town and urged them to discover the wonders of sport.

Speaking to The Evening Star, Lord Coe said: “Whether you become an elite athlete or whether you simply get out on the football pitch or netball court with your friends each weekend, I believe it gives you an amazing, positive experience.

“I discovered in my own life that sport can make dreams come true.”

The Olympic legend was speaking on the day that Ipswich launched its new elite squad of athletes - a grouping of some of the town's most outstanding sporting talent who will guide and inspire a new generation of sportsmen and women.

The Elite Squad is made up of current senior or under 21 international sportsmen and women who will receive support from Ipswich Borough Council and businesses to aid their preparation for the Games. In turn, they will act as sporting ambassadors for the town.

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It is a landmark step in the Team Ipswich campaign, which aims to make Ipswich the Gateway to London 2012 by encouraging international teams to train here, tourists to visit and young people to make sport a part of all their lives.

In a special 16-page Grassroots supplement dedicated entirely to Team Ipswich's drive to boost sport and included within this newspaper, The Evening Star today celebrates the efforts to promote the town as the Gateway to London 2012.

Giving his backing to the Team Ipswich project, Lord Coe said we must make sure our young athletes have the support they need to become our next Olympians and Paralympians.

He said: “Bringing the Games to London and the UK in 2012 is all about helping a new generation of people discover sport and hopefully inspire them to get involved.

“Initiatives like Team Ipswich are an important way of responding to the needs of all those young people inspired to choose sport as a result of the Games coming to London in 2012.

“We need to provide role models like those involved in the Team Ipswich Elite Squad being launched today, along with the high-quality coaches and organisers who help young people to learn, enjoy, and love sport. Winning the right to host the Games gives us a great opportunity that we all need to grasp together.”

Team Ipswich has attracted unprecedented support for a campaign based around sport in Ipswich. Sporting icons like Sir Steve Redgrave, Kevin Petersen and Daley Thompson have given it their backing.

Steve Cram, who will be in Ipswich next month to launch the Ipswich Sports Foundation, said: “Most of the time focus in sport is often only referred to on a national level and it's important that regions work hard to maintain their importance in helping sport and individuals reach the highest levels.”

Weblink: www.london2012.org

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