Sporting Equals is honoured to unveil its new Corporate Ambassador Mr Prof. Peter Virdee, as part of its Ambassador programme, supporting the future champions programme. This programme aims to help talented and dedicated young black and minority ethnic (BME) individuals to succeed at elite level sport, and serve as valuable role models to encourage other young people to get involved in sport.
Sporting Equals is the national organisation promoting greater participation by the black and minority ethnic population in sport and a healthy lifestyle. The not-for profit organisation, is at the heart of BME communities through its network of 5,000 community organisations. As a national partner of Sport England and strategic advisor to DCMS they have partnership agreements and affiliations with the leading sports governing bodies.
The objective of Future Champions is to recognise, celebrate and inspire. By shining a light on the stars of tomorrow, the programme not only nurtures talent but also encourages participation from other young people from similar backgrounds, motivated to get involved by the success of our Future Champions.
Prof. Peter Virdee said “even if I can inspire one child to take up sport, through my Corporate Ambassador role with Sporting Equals, I will be happy”.
Born and bred in the inner cities of Birmingham, earning his first pounds as a car minder, Prof. Peter is now a highly established business and property entrepreneur, one of the most iconic Sikh’s across the world. Peter’s journey can serve as an inspiration for other young people including those living in inner city areas. With the right mind set, drive and motivation, Prof. Peter experience provides evidence that nothing is impossible.
Prof. Peter himself is an avid sportsman, playing badminton, polo and basketball as a way to both get fit and get into a mind frame of self-discipline that has helped him in his journey to business success. Prof. Peter believes that sport can provide many benefits and is a key tool to develop youngsters, helping them achieve their potential.
Prof. Peter said “There is so much sporting talent in the Asian community, not just in the UK but worldwide. The Asian diaspora is one of the largest globally. Statistically we should be bringing through top talent in the professional sporting arena. However in reality this is not the case. I believe this is largely centred around the lack of encouragement for youngsters to take up sports at a grassroots level and role models to inspire them. We need to re-educate our community and try and change these mind-sets, especially those of the third generation parents. Investment should be targeted, developing facilities in inner city areas with high levels of social deprivation including cities with high concentration of Asian communities to further encourage them to get involved in sport”.
Arun Kang CEO at Sporting Equals said, “On behalf of the board and the team we are delighted to welcome Prof. Peter as a Corporate Ambassador. Prof. Peter brings a wealth of experience, drive, vision and strong networks all will considerably enhance our offer. As a philanthropist he has supported numerous good causes and charities both at home and abroad and has witnessed how sport can be utilised to bring communities together”.
Prof. Peter said, “As my offices are based in Central London, I witnessed firsthand the energy around London during the summer it was truly incredible. Bridging gaps in society as well as highlighting the many sports that are available for youngsters to participate in. The time is now to build on the positives that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games have left, carrying forward the legacy as we should be encouraging more young people into sport”.
“Through my role as an Ambassador of Sporting Equals, I will work with the organisation to make this happen. I believe in giving back to the community, and via Sporting Equals I will further help build a better future for kids in our community. The key is to polish these ‘un-cut’ diamonds from the Asian community and develop them into the bright sports persons that we all know they can be”.
Commenting on the Future Champions programme Prof. Peter said, “I was ecstatic watching the Bhangra dancers at the opening ceremony. This showcased the Asian community’s strong presence in the UK. However what was disappointing was the lack of Asians in the top tier, participating and winning medals”.
Arun said “London 2012 showed the very low number of British Asian’s participating in the Olympic and Paralympic games, and Prof. Peter will help to increase interest within Asian families, businesses, communities and faith centres to ensure British Asians are not missing at Olympic and Paralympic games in the future”.
Prof. Peter added “Hopefully this will kick start the Asian community to get into sports, however, this will take time and the right encouragement for youngsters at a grassroots level to help us find more elite talent through this programme. I am confident that we will be watching British Asians winning the gold’s, silver’s and bronze medals in years to come”.
Notes for Editors:
Sporting Equals exists to actively promote greater participation by the black and minority ethnic population in sport and a healthy lifestyle. It is a not-for profit organisation. We have a strong national network of delivery partners on the ground, at the heart of BME communities. We also have partnership agreements and affiliations with the leading sports governing bodies. Our job is to bring these two networks together in order to:
- increase participation
- open up a vast new pool of talent for sport in the UK
- offer opportunities for talented sportsmen and women
- change outdated attitudes and assumptions
- enable BME communities to access sports and fitness facilities
- share the social, personal and health benefits of an active life more widely
For more information, please contact David Mbaziira, Head of Marketing & Communications on 0121 777 1375.
For further information about Sporting Equals, please visit the website at www.sportingequals.org.uk.