Broadcaster Rob Walker’s new competition is asking schoolchildren to share their favourite sporting moments and offering the chance to interview a global star
Is there a budding sportswriter or broadcaster in your family? A youngster who loves sport so much that they just can’t stop telling everyone about it? Well, a competition has just launched which could be the perfect fit for them.
Young Sporting Wonders is the brainchild of broadcaster Rob Walker, who wanted to do something positive for children across Britain and Northern Ireland during these disrupted times, and is asking them to share their favourite sporting experiences.
It could be an amazing bike ride, scoring the winning goal for your school team, taking part in your first race on the track, going to the big match or just describing how sport makes you feel – if you are passionate about it, Young Sporting Wonders wants you to write, or talk, about it.
The best 100 entries will receive a £20 book token for an independent children’s bookshop called Octavia’s in Rob’s local area. However, he has also used his contacts within the sporting industry to offer the top 10 entries the chance to conduct an interview with a global sporting star – and the likes of former marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe and double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee already signed up.
Young Sporting Wonders will then have the zoom interviews professionally edited and are aiming to have them aired on TV.
“It’s about passion, not perfect punctuation and amazing creative writing. It’s about young people communicating why sport – or a specific day in sport – is important to them,” explains Rob.
“It could be anything and it might not even be competitive. It might be someone writing in about a great bike ride they went on with their family and they love feeling the wind in their hair and watching the world go by.”
There is an audio option for those who would prefer to speak about their big moment rather than write about it. As some who has been a professional broadcaster since 1999, Rob certainly knows a thing or two about that.
“I’ve never lost sight of how lucky I am to have covered World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympics,” he says. “I’ve come into contact with really cool people like Paula and Alistair regularly and I have been really humbled with the speed at which both of them came back and said ‘I really like this idea, I want to help you’.”
Explaining the motivation behind Young Sporting Wonders, he adds: “If you’re lucky enough to make your living through sport – and you travel around and work with inspirational people, you almost at the moment have a kind of moral obligation to try and use your imagination, your field of work and your contacts to try and do something positive.”
He is hoping it also provides some inspiration which could open the door to future careers in sport.
“There are so many jobs attached to sport,” he adds. “Only the very, very highest percentage of people are able to make a living as a participant in world class sport, so if you fall a little short it doesn’t matter – there are so many types of jobs out there.
“When it comes to sportspeople at the top, they have come through difficult times as well as good times so they are fascinating, inspirational people to talk to. My message to young people who are finding it difficult at the moment is that everyone finds something in life difficult at some stage and the men and women that you watch on TV achieving great things have also been through difficult periods.
“Read up about these great characters. If you’re doing research on Paula, for example, within 12 weeks of collapsing at the side of the road in Athens, with the weight and expectation burdened on her shoulders, she recovered so quickly from that that she won an epic New York marathon and within 12 months of that had become a world champion.
“All these characters have come from difficult points to achieve great things and they are quite inspirational.”
The closing date for entries is March 15. For more information and to find out how to enter, visit Young Sporting Wonders