Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley wants kids to get off the sofa and into sport, throwing his support behind a programme aiming to inspire young people and families to get active.
Travel to Tokyo is part of Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme, with £2.6 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England, and support from partners including ukactive.
The programme aims to inspire young people aged 5–11, their classmates and families to try new activities and get active together in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
By joining athletes on a journey from London to Tokyo, participants will join half a million families across England in getting active and be in with the chance to learn new skills, have fun and win some fantastic prizes along the way and Bayley is a keen advocate.
"It's amazing for families and important for them to get out of the house,” said Bayley, who won gold at Rio 2016 in class 7, in addition to silver at London 2012.
“Physical Activity can build a bond and you can have great fun with it. Everyone should get out there, have fun and get active.
"It's important we get kids off the sofa and into sport. You see it more and more nowadays, people are inside playing a PlayStation or playing consoles, or their PC or their phone.
“It's so important to get out there, get active and enjoy yourself.
"The Travel to Tokyo programme is fantastic. As athletes our main job is to win medals, but we are ambassadors for our sports and we can inspire kids to be active and get involved.”
Travel to Tokyo aims to address the fact that recent Sport England research shows 4 in 5 young people are not doing the 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer.
By joining athletes on a journey from London to Tokyo, participants will be in with the chance to learn new skills, have fun and win prizes – like having top athletes visit their school - along the way.
Travel to Tokyo began with a bang as students and families came together to take part in a mass participation Japanese Sports day at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Bayley, who lit up TV screens across the country with his ecstatic celebrations in Rio, showed typical enthusiasm at the launch event which he hailed as a runaway success.
"It was a great event, getting children into sport, and so nice to be there,” said Bayley.
“To be part of the Paralympic legacy and see kids getting fit and staying active is brilliant. It means a lot to me, to be honest.
“It was a crazy day. I did all sorts of sports and activities - I lost at everything but had a lot of fun!
"The kids loved it and I loved it as much as them. Everyone was a winner and I really enjoyed it.
"The programme's fantastic and with the Paralympic and Olympic Games coming up, we're going to push this forward, get families more active and enjoying themselves in games and activities like this. “
ou can get involved in Travel to Tokyo youth engagement programme by visiting www.getset.co.uk/travel-tokyo/general