The International Inspiration Programme has "exceeded its targets" of inspiring 12 million young people across 20 nations through sport, according to an independent report conducted by international research consulting and technical assistance services company, Ecorys.
London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe had promised to "reach young people all around the world and connect them the to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport".
By 2011, the programme had already inspired 13 million children and young people from 20 nations across the globe to choose sport as a source of inspiration, with Coe revealing today this figure has risen to 25 million, "far exceeding" the original target of 12 million.
"It's nearly 10 years ago that I made a promise to 'reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport', and nearly a decade on we will have inspired over 25 million children and young people around the world by providing education and sporting opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't have had," said Coe, who is also chair of the International Inspiration charity.
"I am incredibly proud that we managed to make a difference, using sport as a tool for development, for so many children and young people all over the world, as a direct result of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games here in the UK."
Talking at a news briefing here today, Coe claimed the programme was "vital to showcase the UK history and tradition of reaching to others" from across the globe, adding that it was one thing to be the first host city to "enshrine" such a concept in their Olympic and Paralympic legacy, and another to come back to it nine years later and see through an independent report, "the quality of the work we've been doing".
The original ambitions of the programme, according to Coe, were not only to inspire youngsters to practice and participate in sport, but also to teach, coach, mentor and lead others using sport as a tool for learning and development.
The Ecorys report found that despite just 50,000 people being targeted, "more the 256,000 practitioners were trained to organiser, manage, deliver, monitor and evaluate high quality and inclusive PE, sport, sport for development and play activities" through the programme, with more than 50,000 of these young people.
Another key aim of International Inspiration and its partners was to bring about policy change across the world, where it thought the importance of sport was not sufficiently acknowledged or valued as a tool for development.
This included introducing physical education into school curriculums and educating policy makers about how to use sport as a way to develop and enhance the lives of children and young people.
A "key performance indicator target" for this area of the programme was to see at least 20 policies "changed developed or operationalised in targeted countries", with figures from the report indicating that the programme has influenced "55 policies, strategies or legislative change across 19 countries".
Speaking at the briefing, UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl, said: "The UK is a nation that cares passionately about international sport at all levels, and it has been our privilege to have been involved in this unique partnership delivering sport, and the associated benefits, to so many children and young people throughout the world.
"The International Inspiration Programme has far surpassed all that we imagined it could achieve, and the foundations laid will continue to ensure an enduring international legacy from the London 2012 Games.
"UK Sport will take the experiences, relationships and friendships created through this programme to continue to champion sport as an important tool for development around the world."
With this programme coming to an end, Coe used the briefing to announce a new partnership with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) after the governmental department agreed to help support International Inspiration in its future work with young people across the world.
The deal will see DFID help fund the charity in its ongoing initiatives and day-to-day runnings for three years, as International Inspiration continues to build towards funding itself independently.
"This support from DFID illustrates both International Inspiration's and the Government's commitment to sustain the legacy of London 2012 by using sport to inspire and change lives around the world," said Coe.
"We welcome this support and look forward to the future with excitement."
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