Olympic Swimmer Chris Cook Visits EDC

Sat, 27/01/2001 - 00:00

Thousands of teenagers and young adults across County Durham are to benefit from a new sports programme that aims to fulfil the legacy promise made by Seb Coe in Singapore in 2005 to ‘inspire young people to choose sport’.


Sportivate will give 14- to 25-year-olds the chance to receive six to eight weeks of coaching in a sport of their choice. Launched by Sport England and County Durham Sport yesterday, at East Durham College's Peterlee Campus, the £32 million National Lottery-funded project will help those who aren’t currently playing sport in their own time to get out and give sport a go.


Olympic swimmer Chris Cook who was at the launch said: “I love trying different sports and different things in life. I remember as a youngster loving sport but never excelling in one particular sport until I tried swimming. Who would have thought that more than 20 years on from that moment when I walked into a swimming pool that I would eventually be good enough to walk into an Olympic Arena and compete with the best on the planet!”

Chris Cook, from South Shields, represented Great Britain for almost 10 years, reaching Olympic, World and European finals. His defining moment came in 2006 at the Commonwealth Games, Melbourne Australia, as Chris defied the odds and swam his way to becoming Double Commonwealth Champion.


Throughout the ten years of international swimming the dedication and hard work that went into training, Chris’s average week involved 4.30am starts, covering 60,000+ metres in the pool and training in excess of 30 hours. Recently retired from International Swimming, Chris reflects back over a career which started late, showing no signs of success as a teenager but with hard work, determination and focus, enriched him with international medals, national records and personal pride.

County Durham Sport will work with local providers and sports clubs to help 14- to 25-year-olds in County Durham to continue playing sport long after they have completed the course.

East Durham College will be playing a huge part in this project in sports such as basketball, netball, boxer-fit-dance, table tennis and teen gym running at the Peterlee Campus.

As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, Sportivate will see 300,000 teenagers and young adults across England completing sports courses over four years.


Thanks to £319,160 of Lottery investment in County Durham, at least 2,992 local people will be able to take part in activities such as: 

·  Indoor Climbing at Durham Climbing Centre
·  Boxer-fit at East Durham College
·  Extreme sports sessions
·  Disability sessions offered to 14-19 year olds on their school site

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “Lots of young people think sport isn’t for them. I would like them to have the chance to discover whether there is a sport they really enjoy, so this programme is all about choice.  Everyone who takes part will receive high quality coaching – giving them the confidence and skills which will make them want to keep playing in the future.”

County Durham Sport’s Chief Executive, Ben Williams, added: “Sportivate will give young people across County Durham the chance to experience new sports and activities that they may have not considered trying before. Thanks to the hard work of our partners, I’m convinced that the Sportivate programme across the county will be a success.”

Yesterday's announcement was welcomed by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP.

Hugh Robertson said: “This £32 million Lottery programme launched by Sport England will give hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country the opportunity to try out and get coached in the sport of their choice. I’m sure these same young people will also be inspired when the world’s greatest athletes compete here at next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and will then want to stay involved in sport for many years to come.”

As an additional incentive, teenagers and young adults who stick with sport will have the chance to enter a ballot for free London 2012 tickets. Sport England has hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic tickets available for Sportivate participants via the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative.

In order to be eligible for London 2012 Ticketshare, participants will need to complete the sports course, missing no more than one session, and then continue to participate in sport for at least three months.

Sportivate is an inclusive programme that will create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled participants.