2010 All News
PL4Sport Launch - Manchester United FC
As well as providing a launch that enabled many to fulfil a lifelong ambition of appearing on Match of the Day, although maybe not in the capacity envisaged in the dreams of their youth, the Manchester United Premier League 4 Sport scheme is playing a key role in the wider development of badminton in the City.
The highlight of the launch saw World Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Gail Emms, taking on and thrashing the very best that the Premier League champions could offer. Four United players – Wes Brown, Michael Carrick, John O’Shea and Danny Wellbeck – all played Gail at the launch held at the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe. However, despite all having played badminton in their youth, they were no match for the Athens silver medallist. Indeed, Carrick was lucky to be able to walk away after one particularly well targeted smash.
Located in a very deprived area of Manchester, Premier League 4 Sport is an important element of work to engage young people in sporting activity and provide a wider range of opportunities for those living in the area. This was highlighted by Barry Burke, Principal of Manchester Health Academy:
‘The children are very excited about the new initiative and by associating Olympic sports with football, which is the foremost in the minds of many pupils, we hope to open up participation in a far wider range of activities. Having the chance to meet an Olympic legend such as badminton silver medallist Gail Emms is a great experience and if being in the presence of [Michael] Carrick, [John] O’Shea, [Wes] Brown, [Danny] Wellbeck and Emms together isn’t enough to stir their interest, I don’t know what is!”
The Manchester United Premier League 4 Sport scheme is also playing a vital role in badminton’s legacy from the 2010 European Championships, which was held in the City at the MEN Arena in April. The hub club funding was matched with further money from the European Championships development fund and Manchester City Council to employ a community badminton coach. This coach is delivering activity identified in the development plan to help secure a lasting legacy for badminton in Manchester from the Championships. This includes Premier League 4 Sport sessions and other school based activity to introduce Manchester school children to the sport; disability sessions; and activity targeted at introducing adults to badminton. This work will act as the basis for the development of a community badminton network in South Manchester, contributing to delivery of BADMINTON England’s whole sport plan.