May 23 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips, Senior Reporter
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
A basketball coach is running a summer camp for youths of all abilities this week as the country is gripped by Games fever.
Former London Leopard player Marlan Henry is leading the expert clinics, which give players a taste of the game while boosting sports participation in Barking and Dagenham.
Around 70 young people turned up for lessons on Monday – the camp’s first day.
Marlan hopes that Team GB forward, 6ft 10ins Kieron Achara, can come and demonstrate his skills for the youngsters before the camp ends its run at Dagenham Park School, in School Road, on Friday.
Marlan, 29, said: “We just want to make sure young people have a lot of fun.
“The camp gives them an opportunity to train. They may want to play in the future.
“Kids nowadays get a bad reputation. We want to provide a safe and friendly environment for them.”
The summer project has been organised by north London sports coaching company Premier Training Network and is also receiving funding from the council.
The company has been running a club in Barking and Dagenham, called the Thunder Basketball Club, since 2009.
Young people up to the age of 20 are eligible to join and the club will play in the National League for the first time this autumn.
Training takes place at Dagenham Park School and Barking Abbey School in Sandringham Road, which is an official Olympic training ground for basketball players during the Olympic Games.
Marlan added: “Basketball used to be big about 12 or 15 years ago, but it is definitely growing in the borough again.
“The thing is, it’s an indoor sport and it’s expensive to hire facilities so it makes it difficult to run classes. In the past we held camps in the park and we used to charge kids to cover costs.
“All the staff were volunteers but we still only used to break even or make a loss. This is the first time we’ve had serious investment.”
The free basketball project, called Team Foundation, is for young people aged seven to 19. It runs between 10am and 1pm until Friday.
The company will also run street dance and football sessions at Dagenham Park School between August 14 and 30.
For more information, go to premiertrainingnetwork.co.uk
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