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Midnight Basketball project in Kennington

Article en anglais

Par Laureus Rédigé le 24/07/2010 (dernière modification le 24/07/2010)

Laureus World Sports Academy Members Boris Becker and Sean Fitzpatrick were joined by three of the world’s greatest triathlon stars for the launch of the Laureus-supported Midnight Basketball project in Kennington, South London.

Photo (c) DR
Photo (c) DR
Triathletes Jan Frodeno, Emma, Snowsill and Simon Whitfield - in London for the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series event in Hyde Park on July 24 and 25 - were special guests at the project which provides community basketball sessions in areas of high juvenile crime late in the evening to keep youngsters out of trouble.

Midnight Basketball, a replica of the successful Laureus-supported project of the same name in Richmond, Virginia, is the 80th sports-based project around the world backed by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which is also the Global Charity Partner of the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

German tennis legend Boris Becker said: “This is a great concept. I have also visited the Midnight Basketball project in Virginia and seen how successful it is. I am sure this will make a big impact in the neighbourhood and will keep the kids off the street and out of trouble.”

As Global Charity Partner of the ITU, Laureus has had the opportunity to field teams at each of the five major events on the international triathlon circuit this year to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and former All Blacks rugby captain Sean Fitzpatrick is one of the Laureus team who will be competing in London.

Sean said: “It was great to be at the launch of a new project and I am so delighted that Emma, Jan and Simon were able to come to Midnight Basketball to give them the chance to see Laureus at work. Our partnership with the International Triathlon Union is so important and allows us to get our message to a whole new group of people. I am really looking forward to competing in Hyde Park.”

Simon Whitfield, the first ever Olympic triathlon gold medallist, in Sydney in 2000, said: “I am delighted to be able to visit the Midnight Basketball project. I know a lot about the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation around the world, and it is great to see it all taking place on the ground. It's a real step forward for my sport to have a tie up like this with Laureus as our Global Charity Partner and I'm certainly going to do everything I can to make it a success. It was great to meet the kids who have opted for sport rather than hanging around on the streets and I had a special word with the volunteers and project leaders without whom none of this would be possible. It was really inspiring to be part of it all for a day."

Midnight Basketball in London is a replica of the successful Laureus-supported project of the same name in Richmond, Virginia. The project uses basketball activities and competition to engage at-risk young people from South and Central London, whilst also raising their awareness of society and community and creating training and development opportunities.

The programme has been identified as a priority area for development due to the popularity of basketball in these areas, where young people are often uninterested in other sports. Support for a basketball initiative to tackle social issues has come from the Metropolitan Police, Nike, the London Mayor's Office and the central London Sports Action Zone. The project has also received the official endorsement of NBA Europe.

The project delivers personal development programmes, alongside basketball, including drug and alcohol awareness, conflict resolution, equality and diversity training and community safety. Those participants undertaking both basketball coaching and personal development programme are given the opportunity to participate in weekend midnight basketball events, running from 10pm - 6am, that incorporate basketball and cultural activities, and which help to keep the vulnerable young people off the streets at a difficult tine.

Participants in the programme play in a Midnight Basketball League, with matches played monthly. The winning team have the chance to participate in the Midnight Madness event at Wembley each summer.

Boris Becker and Sean Fitzpatrick are members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 46 of the greatest living sporting legends who volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The mission of the Laureus Foundation is to utilise the power of sport to address social challenges through a global programme of sports-related community development initiatives.

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was founded ten years ago and now supports 80 projects in 32 countries. Laureus has seen first-hand the positive effect that sport has in tackling some of the world's most challenging social issues from mental health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse to crime, social exclusion, landmines awareness and violence. Since its inception Laureus has raised over €35 million for sports-based projects which have helped to improve the lives of more than one million young people.

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