By Tom Degun at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London

Justin_King_meets_Sebastian_Coe_Lee_Valley_April_11_2011April 11 - Supermarket giant Sainsbury's have today launched the 1 Million Kids Challenge which aims to encourage a million children from across the UK to try out a Paralympic sport ahead of London 2012.

The scheme was launched here, the training base for many of Britain's top disabled athletes, with London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe, Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King, Cultural Secretary Jeremy Hunt, ParalympicsGB vice-chair Ann Cutcliffe and double Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds on hand to watch school children sample sports like goalball and visually impaired football.

King told insideworldparasport: "We are approaching 500 days to go to the London 2012 Paralympics and as part of the continued commitment to promoting a healthy, active lifestyle, we are delighted to launch the 1 Million Kids Challenge.

"The initiative will give children from communities all over the country the chance to get involved in sport ahead of Games and we are very confident we can reach our target of one million."

Sainsbury's will be supplying free sports equipment to schools so children can give  Paralympic sports a try for the first time and the supermarket also announced today that they have put a Paralympic Legacy Fund in place to support athletes at the 2012 Games and beyond.

The first initiative around the fund is the launch of a newly-designed Paralympic Games shopping bag, which is available in Sainsbury's stores, with profits from the sales of the bag going to the fund.

Coe said: "Today we are here to launch the 1 Million Kids Challenge; just one of many initiatives by Sainsbury's which will help us to promote the London 2012 Paralympic Games to the public.

"With just over 500 days to go till the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the support across the UK is incredible and Sainsbury's is a much valued stand-alone partner of the Paralympic Movement."

Hunt said: "Today's exciting event is a fantastic example of how Paralympic sports can be incorporated into every UK school and the Sainsbury's 1 Million Kids Challenge is the perfect platform to help children realise their sports potential."

All of the schools participating in the Sainsbury's 1 Million Kids Challenge will be eligible for additional rewards and benefits, such as access to London 2012 Ticketshare tickets and visits from athletes by joining the Get Set network, London 2012's reward and recognition scheme for schools and colleges across the UK.

Cutcliffe said: "The BPA (British Paralympic Association) is delighted to have the chance to showcase some of the exciting Paralympic sports on offer at London 2012, and it is great to see so many children giving them a go."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2010: Record £100 million Sainsbury's donation creating healthy, active kids
September 2010: Exclusive - Paralympics is jewel in our crown says Sainsbury's chief executive
August 2010: Simmonds to be face of Sainsbury's Active Kids campaign
August 2010: Sainsbury's missed opportunity to exploit Paralympic sponsorship, report claims
May 2010: Sir Philip Craven - High anticipation to London 2012 with Sainsbury's sponsorship