Pupils from five Wigan schools taking part in a new scheme promoted by Wigan Athletic had an unexpected treat this week when Honduran World Cup stars Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas were on hand to ‘join in’.

‘JUST JOIN IN’, delivered by Wigan Athletic Community Trust and funded by the Premier League/Professional Football Association (PL/PFA) Community Fund, delivers specialist coaching in five sports to special educational needs schools across the borough, in preparation for the 2012 Paralympics.

Football, basketball, athletics, tag rugby and new age kurling, are all taught in six-week blocks culminating in an inter schools tournament, the football of which was held at the Power League Soccerdome in Wigan.

This enabled the pupils to showcase the skills that they have learnt from the Wigan Athletic Community Trust coaches over the last six weeks, and Latics’ two Hondurans were on hand to watch them in action before hand out awards and sign autographs.

Maynor Figueroa, whose own skills include scoring from 60 yards of course, said he was delighted to be able to help with projects such as these:

“To see youngsters enjoying their football is always a great sight,” he said, “it’s really encouraging to see how the club can help the people in the area.

“I think it’s important that young people participate in sport as much as possible and if the club can play its part then that is fantastic.”

Hendry Thomas, the Barclays Premier League’s top rated tackler, said: “The smile on the kids’ faces said it all for me, sport makes everyone feel better, and days like this show you why.”

The schools taking part were Hope, Landgate, New Greenhall, Oakfield and Newbridge Learning Community School. Congratulations to ‘Newbridge B’ team who finished triumphant on the day.

Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Brian Kay, the JUST JOIN IN coordinator, said: “The project has been a great success, thanks to the support of the schools and to the enthusiasm of all the pupils. We would like to thank everyone for making this such a memorable experience for all who took part, and to Maynor and Hendry for coming down on the day.”

To contact Wigan Athletic Community Trust, call 01942 824599, bkay@wiganathletictg.com


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