An Olympian from the Isle of Man has spoken of the power of sport to change young lives.
Shooter Tim Kneale has accepted an invitation to be the ambassador for the Microgaming Community Games, being held at the National Sports Centre on Wednesday 21st June.
The event, in its second year, encourages 11 to 18-year-olds from the Department of Education’s five secondary schools to try out sports, with the hope they’ll stay involved and sign up for clubs.
The games are supported by Microgaming through its PlayItForward initiative.
Tim – who made the final of the double trap event at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – said: ‘The Community Games is a great initiative, offering young people the unique opportunity to experience sports in the way they were intended – to have fun.
‘There is often expectation to perform on a field of play and the enjoyment of taking part and working together can be lost.
‘The games allow young people to take part, achieve their best and experience team work without the pressure of results.
‘I hope they will encourage more young people to take part in sporting activity and also accomplishing personal goals, leading to more confident, assured individuals.’
Tim holds the world record in his sport and is a former Isle of Man Sportsman of the Year.
He said: ‘I was bullied at school due to being overweight, but the experience hasn't prevented me pushing on in life to achieve a successful career and become an Olympic finalist.
‘Hard work, dedication and self-belief can benefit you in life as well as sport and take you all around the world.’
The games feature hockey, bowls, squash, badminton, basketball, girls’ football, golf, judo, netball, rugby, tennis, skateboarding, swimming and glow sport.
Tim is competing abroad and can’t attend the games but will record a message of encouragement for participants.
Sports will hold follow-up sessions for those eager to stay involved and Tim will be invited to attend a session to see at first hand the games’ success.
Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education and Children, who oversees sport, said: ‘It’s a huge boost to the games to have such an accomplished sportsman as Tim act as ambassador.
‘It’s hoped his involvement will demonstrate to participants that sport can not only benefit their health and gain them friends and a lifelong hobby but that it can lead to great success.
‘I hope everyone enjoys the games.’
Claire Coleman, Head of Microgaming PlayItForward, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the Microgaming Community Games develop with the addition of a highly talented and inspirational ambassador. I have no doubt that the event on Wednesday will be a great success.’
Photo - Minister Cregeen launching the 2017 Microgaming Community Games with Claire Coleman from Microgaming, sports coaches and Manx Sport and Recreation staff.