Updated: Sunday, 29th March 2020 @ 7:27am

Jessica Ennis calling on Manchester schoolchildren to attend athletics roadshow

Jessica Ennis calling on Manchester schoolchildren to attend athletics roadshow

By Charlie Talbot-Smith, Sportsbeat

Jessica Ennis is calling on Manchester schoolchildren to move quickly and sign up to the scheme that helped launch her to international fame and fortune – Aviva Startrack.

Ennis was aged nine when she attended one of the days in her home town of Sheffield and has since gone on to win world heptathlon and pentathlon gold and be crowned European champion.

William Scholes Playing Fields will host one of only 96 free Startrack sessions in the UK, with the roadshow arriving in Manchester on August 13, with the aim to introduce youngsters to athletics for the first time.

Trained UK Athletics coaches will attend each of the roadshows to give expert advice, help and tips as the youngsters try their hand at track and field events.

Olympic silver medalist Iwan Thomas and X-Factor pop stars Jedward are also supporting the Aviva-funded initiatives and Ennis believes it is an opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands.

“It’s quite weird for me to think that it wasn’t that long ago that it was me going to the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield with my parents and discovering athletics for the first time,” said Ennis.

“The kids get to try out a whole load of different sports so there is plenty of room for them all to find their own talents and just enjoy themselves above all.

“It’s not all about finding our next Olympic champion, the idea is for children to have fun and get out of the house and do something healthy.”

Meanwhile Jedward, AKA Irish twins John and Edward Grimes who were keen runners before finding fame through music, echoed Ennis’ thoughts.

They said: “The confidence we got from competing and doing well in local races has helped us a lot to become performers up on stage in front of loads of people.”

Aviva Startrack is one of 7 schemes within the Aviva Athletics Academy which aims to give every child in the UK the chance to get involved in athletics by 2012.

Try Aviva Startrack for free this summer and get more info at www.uka.org.uk/academy

More related stories:

Manchester's sports centres count down to London 2012

One year to go until London 2012