June 23 - More than five million children and youngsters from around the world are benefitting from the International Inspiration programme, London 2012 claimed today to mark Olympic Day.

International Inspiration is the result of the promise made in 2005 to use the London 2012 Games to reach young people around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport.

It aims to provide high-quality physical education, sport and play opportunities to children and young people around the world.

The aim is to reach 12 million children in 20 counties by 2012, London 2012 said.

International Inspiration is already operating in 13 countries - Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Jordan, India, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palau, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and Zambia.
Schools in the UK are also celebrating Olympic Day and their link to International Inspiration.

Ivybridge Community College and St Lukes Science and Sports College are both linked to schools in Nigeria and will be welcoming teachers on an official visit.

St Lukes will be hosting an evening of Sporting Excellence, which Olympic Silver medallist Miriam Batten will attend.

Students will explain what motivate and inspires them about International Inspiration and the London 2012 Games.

School partnerships between the UK and International Inspiration countries are an integral part of the programme.

They provide an opportunity for teachers, children and young people to develop and share innovative approaches to PE, sport and play in the classroom and their local community, as well as learn about and understand each other’s cultures, experiences and international development issues.

Examples of young people around the world who have benefited from the programme include Parvez, a 10-year-old from Mirpur, Dhaka in Bangladesh, who has learnt to swim thanks to a project called SwimSafe.

More than 17,000 children lose their lives each year because of drowning and it is the lead cause of death in children aged 1-4 years of age.

Thanks to International Inspiration, Parvez's hidden talent and enthusiasm for sport was discovered and his speed and ability in the water were recognised by the Bangladesh Swimming Federation. 

Parvez said: "Before I started the swimming lessons, I was a bit scared of the water.

"I wanted to play with my friends so I would still go, but I'd stay in the shallow parts.

"Now I swim anywhere.”
His achievements have also inspired his friends to follow in his footsteps and take up swimming:

He said: "Now a lot of my friends want to take swimming lessons too, and a lot of them already have."

Charles Albuquerque, 28-years-old and from Igaci in Brazil has found a new lease of life thanks to the programme.

As a young person living with a disability and coming from a poor family, he originally thought his opportunities in life would be limited.

However, thanks to International Inspiration, Charles now works with about 800 children who had never played sports in school before, inspiring them to learn about new sports and making sure that they have the chance to try them out.
Albuquerque said: "Neither my economic situation, dyslexia or physical disability prevented me from becoming the professional I am today.

"On the contrary - the difficulties I faced in my life made me even more motivated and committed towards children’s right to play sports. I am very proud to be part of the International Inspiration initiative."

Sebastian Coe, chairman of London 2012, said: "The reason we made this promise in Singapore was for people like Parvez and Charles and the millions of other young people around the world - so that they could have the same opportunities in life as everyone else.

"We took a clear promise to Singapore - to encourage the youth around the world to choose sport.

"I saw for myself in India the positive impact this programme is having and I’m delighted to know that thanks to International Inspiration, we are inspiring children and young people to go beyond their personal best and achieve their dreams.”