SEPTEMBER 5 - BRITISH JUDO has launched a £1 million programme in partnership with G4S Security Services (UK) in an effort increase children’s participation in the run-up to London 2012.
Over the next four years in the build-up to the Olympics, the company is to bankroll the G4S Youth Judo Programme, which it is hoped will find future champions for a sport that has disappointingly failed to win a medal at the last two Games.
It is hoped the programme will boost participation by providing the children of G4S’ employees with subsidised judo lessons, and making contributions towards their kit, licensing and grading examinations.
G4S’ substantial investment will also help grow the sport in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic Games by providing support to Britain's 850 judo clubs.
The programme is part of the wider G4S and British Judo Association (BJA) partnership that formed through the FTSE-British Olympic Association (BOA) Partnership Initiative.
G4S has joined some of Britain’s biggest companies in teaming up with Olympic sports to try and improve the way they are run.
The scheme sees FTSE companies partnering a sport to try and help it become more professionally run.
G4S’ UK managing director Doug Hewitson said: “Judo is a sport that’s spread widely throughout the UK.
"There are 850 or so clubs.
"In the lead-up to 2012, the BJA is very keen to generate a higher profile for the sport.
"With greater participation, there’s every chance we can win some medals at the Games.
"Over the next four years, we want to encourage 4,000 or more children to take up the sport.
"We’ll measure that take-up, and effectively sponsor the childrens’ examinations and gradings.
The BOA is very keen to ensure that all Olympic sports have a long-term future.
"The legacy we can help build for the BJA centres on sound governance and administration, solid business processes and planning."
Densign White, the chairman of the BJA, said: “The French have over 5,000 Judo clubs and we have somewhere around 850.
"They win the medals.
"The social impact of our sport is important and, if we can engage the community we can perhaps make a difference in taking children and teenagers from the streets where the knife crime epidemic is currently having such a detrimental effect on our society and showing them that sport is not only good for their health but will also teach them useful values which they can adopt for the rest of their lives.
“We want to make a genuine difference through this partnership, and we’re really looking forward to working with G4S leading up to the 2012 Games and beyond.
"Initiatives like this can only enhance our sport and ensure its future success.”
It is the latest venture into Olympic sports by G4S.
They are also a sponsor of the British sailing team that won six medals, including four gold, at the Beijing Olympics.
G4S has also launched an innovative sports programme - designated G4S 4Teen - to support 14 aspiring young athletes from around the world such that they can be mentored by double Ethiopia's Olympic two-time Olympic 10,000 metres gold medallist and world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie.