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Sky Sports Living for Sport unveils 2010/2011 Athlete Mentors available for school visits

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Gold medal winners and champions from the worlds of athletics, boxing, gymnastics and BMX are among the sports stars available to inspire and motivate 11-16 year olds as part of Sky Sports Living for Sport.

Now in its eighth year, Sky Sports Living for Sport is a free online initiative delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust to provide schools with flexible and tailored projects that use the power of sport to reach out to 11-16 year olds and encourage them to be the best they can be across all areas of their lives.

Playing an integral part in the delivery of Sky Sports Living for Sport is the offer of a school visit by one of a selection of Athlete Mentors, handpicked by the Youth Sport Trust because of their inspiring personal journeys to overcome personal issues and achieve success. Over 80 per cent of responding teachers in a survey of schools that have implemented the initiative identified these visits as a major incentive in taking part.

During the visits - which participating schools can register for via www.skysports.com/livingforsport - the Athlete Mentors share their stories with the young people, talking not only about their sporting careers, but also more personally about the challenges they have faced in their own lives. The visit helps pupils see how sport has enabled the Athlete Mentor to overcome the issues and barriers in their life, and act as tangible proof to the pupils that lessons learned through sport, such as determination, respect and confidence, can be applied to all areas of their daily lives to help them achieve their goals.

New to the Athlete Mentor team for 2010-11 is:
Alistair McKean, Adaptive Rowing
Daniel Caines, Athletics
Hannah Beharry, Boxing
Heather Fisher, Women's Rugby
Jeanette Kwakye, Athletics
Jenna Downing, Inline Skating
JJ Jegede, Long Jump
Jo Yapp, Women's Rugby
Natasha Jonas, Boxing
Thinus Delport, Rugby

Adaptive rower and Sky Sport Living for Sport Athlete Mentor, Alistair McKean, comments: "I know first hand how much sport can truly help a person strive to get the best out of life. It's about so much more than just getting fit; each different sporting activity can provide a scope of additional benefits that you can carry through into all aspects of your life, whether it be learning how to focus your mind on the task at hand or developing the social skills necessary to be a team player.

"I really want to share this message with the young people, and am incredibly excited about the work we as an Athlete Mentor team are about to undertake this school year. It's a privilege to be involved in Sky Sports Living for Sport."

The athletes, 10 of which are new for 2010-11, will parallel the British Athletes' Commission's "Six Keys to Success" with the lives of the pupils by instilling values such as belief, determination, people skills and time management.

Darren Campbell, Ambassador of Sky Sport Living for Sport, comments: "We are delighted that we have such a talented and motivating pool of athletes to support our programme this year. They are an inspiring group of individuals who are already looking forward to visiting schools, sharing their personal stories and playing a big role in supporting the work of the teachers to encourage pupils to embark on their own journeys of development."

Independent research published in September 2010 by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, highlights the remarkable success of the scheme, with 96 per cent of projects judged by teachers to have been either successful or very successful.

Through the project, pupils take part in a range of sporting activities to help achieve personal goals. As they build on their skills and confidence, they also get the chance to create a sports event themselves.

The research reveals that around three quarters of pupils were perceived to have enjoyed their projects and benefited from being involved, as well as showing improved attitudes towards others and increased engagement in school life - the biggest transformation being in pupils selected because they experienced low self-esteem and/or self-worth.

To date, 27,000 young people in over 1100 schools have benefited since the initiative became available to every secondary school in the country. The ambition of the project is for 2,012 secondary schools to register with Sky Sports Living for Sport by the 2012 Olympics 2012 and to build the activities put in place as part of the initiative into curricular and extracurricular programmes

Schools seeking to learn more about how to become involved in Sky Sports Living for Sport are invited to register their school at http://livingforsport.skysports.com/.

The 23 athletes for 2010-2011 are:

Alex Danson, Hockey
Alistair McKean, Adaptive Rowing
Chris Cook, Swimming
Chris Horsman, Rugby
Daniel Caines, Athletics
Darran Langley, Boxing
Dermot Gascoyne, Boxing
Hannah Beharry, Boxing
Heather Fisher, Women's Rugby
Jeanette Kwakye, Athletics
Jenna Downing, Inline Skating
JJ Jegede, Long Jump
Jo Yapp, Women's Rugby
Katy Storie, Women's Rugby
Mike Mullen, BMX
Natasha Jonas, Boxing
Nicola Minichiello, Bobsleigh
Rachael Mackenzie, Thai-Boxing
Steve Brown, Wheelchair Rugby
Steve Frew, Gymnast
Thinus Delport, Rugby
Tim Prendergast, Athletics
Tom Davis, Judo