Rugby will receive a slice of more than £660,000 set to be invested with the aim of driving thousands of teenagers and young adults into sport.
A programme called Sportivate has been launched by Sport England with Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sport (CSW Sport) which will give 14-to-25-year-olds the chance to receive six weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice.
Abi Dixon, sport development manager and acting director for CSW Sport, said: “The Sportivate programme provides a fantastic opportunity for teenagers and young adults within Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to get involved and be inspired to take part in activities they have not tried or had access to before.
“Due to the nature of the target age group the programme will have a wide reaching impact and should involve and engage participants and providers from a variety of backgrounds in the local community.”
The scheme aims to fulfil the legacy promise - that the Games would be used to inspire young people to choose sport - made by Sebastian Coe when London was awarded the 2012 Games in Singapore during 2005.
Thanks to just over £660,400 of lottery investment in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire over the next four years, at least 6,100 local people will be able to take part in activities including archery, dance, judo, ice hockey, sailing, windsurfing and table tennis.
CSW Sport will work with local providers and sports clubs to help 14-to-25-year-olds in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire continue to play sport long after they have completed the 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.
Nuneaton-born Olympic swimmer Adam Whitehead is one of the region’s Sporting Champions and attended the Sportivate launch held at Coventry Transport Museum in the city centre.
Whitehead, who currently works for the Youth Sport Trust, said: “As an athlete who has competed at the highest level, I hope that I can use my experiences to provide inspiration to teenagers and young adults and really encourage them to get into sport.
“The Sportivate programme, running alongside London 2012, is a fantastic way of really creating a sporting legacy and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.”
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.
Jennie Price, chief executive of Sport England, said: “Lots of young people think sport isn’t for them.
“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 which will make them want to keep playing in the future.”
Sportivate is part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme which aims to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games into the heart of local communities, encouraging more people to get involved in sport.
For more information on the Sportivate programme visit www.cswsport.org.uk/Sportivate or call 024 7657 4200.
Picture caption (l/r): Terry Monnington, chair of CSW Sport, Adam Whitehead, Sportivate sporting champion, Dave Long, Sport England’s West Midlands sporting champion, and Tracy Murphy, CSW Sport.