4:18pm Tuesday 15th June 2010
By Will Kilner
Hundreds of Bradford schoolchildren waved and cheered as two times gold medal winner Sebastian Coe arrived in Lister Park to meet youngsters who have been inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.
During his visit, Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, officially launched the Bradford Gold strategy, which aims to encourage people, communities and businesses to make the most of opportunities from the upcoming Olympic Games.
Lord Coe was then given a tour of the newly-reopened Cartwright Hall where he met some of Bradford's young ambassadors who are helping to stage an exhibition highlighting the Cultural Olympiad's 'Precious Cargo' project.
Members of Bradford Disability Cycle Club, which is based in Lister Park, then put on a display of their skills for Lord Coe.
The popular park was also the setting for a day-long athletics event involving 250 pupils at 16 schools.
Lord Coe talked to youngsters who were taking part, then took over the microphone at the end to tell the children: "There are lots of people you need to thank today all your teachers and all the organisers."
Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus during the event, Lord Coe said: "I'm delighted to be here. This is the best example of what we can get from the Olympic games.
"We've got an extraordinary opportunity to drive all sorts of things forward that we probably wouldn't have been able to drive in our lifetime to the same ends.
"Everything I have seen tells me by the day why it was the right decision to bring the Olympics here.
"I've seen the cultural case made by the Precious Cargo exhibition where we're using fashion as a way of engaging with young people.
"I've seen a charity on the forecourt where they're trying to help disabled youngsters into cycling. That's why the local engagement is so important now.
"I want to get more young people involved in sport, I want more young people in sports leadership programmes, to become PE teachers, helping in the local communities. This has been a very smart city for understanding its industrial heritage and its rich cultural mix."
Fatimah Haris, aged ten, a pupil at Springwood Community Primary school, Manningham, said: "I like when I was speaking to Seb Coe. It was very exciting. I have been inspired by him and I enjoyed when we took the picture with him."
Brandon Chawira, a fellow pupil at Springwood, said: "It was a great day and was great to meet Seb Coe."
Lord Coe, won Olympic gold in the 1,500m in Moscow in 1980 and repeated the feat in Los Angles in 1984. He also famously set three world records in less than six weeks in 1979 for the 800m, mile, 1,500m.
Shipley MP Philip Davies secured the visit to the area after lobbying Lord Coe in his capacity on the Commons culture media and sport select committee.Mr Davies said: "It was great, he came to Shipley Pool and joked my persistence had paid off. he really enjoyed it and so did everyone there. He met a very talented young diver who has his hopes set on the 2016 Olympics. He saw different activities and was impressed by what he saw and what was going on and the dedication. It was really great to have him visit.
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