Nestlé Kicks-off IAAF Kids Athletics

NestleNestlé, the leading nutrition, health and wellness company, has commenced a sports programme that will attract and sustain kids between ages 7-12 as potential sporting future champions. Tagged ‘Nestle/Internationa Associatio of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Kids Athletics’, this global programme is aimed at improving the nutrition, health and wellness of school-age children through better eating, greater physical activity and hygiene.

In his welcome address, Mr Dharnesh Gordhon, managing director and chief executive officer, Nestle Nigeria Plc, said Nestle’s support for kid’s athletics complements the company’s ‘Healthy Kids’ global programme. He said Nestle became the main sponsor of the IAAF kids athletics programme following a five-year global partnership between Nestle and IAAF in January 2012. According to Gordhon, “Nestle will provide financial support for the further development of IAAF kids’ athletics which is one of the biggest grassroots development programmes in the world of sports. The Nestle sponsorship will further boost the programme allowing IAAF to organize additional courses for lectures and coaches and eventually to reach a larger number of children”.

He added that the objectives of the Nestle/IAAF kids’ athletics programme are to make athletics the number one participation sports in schools; educate kids into sports in general, athletics in particular and thus promote a balanced andhealthy lifestyle and attract and sustain the potential sporting stars of tomorrow. “The programme is not intended for only clubs and member federations but also for schools  and all institutions who are interested in the wellbeing of children. The programme will be implemented in Nigeria through the athletics federation of Nigeria (AFN). The AFN has been promoting and developing athletics in the schools community in Nigeria as a fundamental discipline within the sports and physical education curriculum and means of social integration”.

Mr Solomon Ogba, president of athletics federation of Nigeria (AFN), who was represented by Tunde Abdulkareem, vice president AFN, who expressed his delight on the birth of the programme, said athletics has lost its pride of place because the children have been neglected. He identified children as the very owners of athletics and called on corporate bodies and the state government to invest in grassroots athletics as it is a sure way of enhancing the security and future of the children.

On his part, Ibrahim Muhammad, national president Nigeria school sport federation (NSSF), said the Nestle/IAAF project will bring back the “run” experience to schools and raise totally healthy children. “It is our belief that this project will encourage an average child to run, jump, hop, throw, clap and smile during play time. All these will come together to giving birth to healthy kids prepared for a healthy lifestyle and aid in the discovery of budding talents that abound in our schools. I hereby call on school sports masters, head teachers and parents to encourage their pupils and children to embrace sports for the development of the brain, brawn and enviable strength of character”. He urged them to see this singular opportunity provided by Nestle as a platform for socio-cultural integration and an epitome of co-existence of sports, academics and excellence.

The Nestle IAAF kids athletics programme aims to popularise athletics in six areas through a programme of several competitions called “A Team Event for Children”, which comprises of three event groups: soprinting/running event group, jumping event group and a throwing event group. The programme targets three age categories: 7-8 years, 9-10 years and 11-12 years. To implement the programme in Nigeria, IAAF will train kids’ athletics lecturers, kids’ athletics coaches and introduce primary school pupils to kids athletics programme.

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