UK Sport - NEWS Malawi project provides Olympic chance.htm
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Malawi project provides Olympic chance Russell Langley 10/08/2004
UK Sports international development work has paid dividends for one athlete in Malawi. Kondwani Chiwina, an 800m runner, will be one of only two athletes representing his country at the Olympic Games having received help from John Woodcock, an athletics coach working in Malawi as part of a UK Sport/VSO sports development programme.
The Olympic stadium where Chiwina will compete
Woodcock, who has taken two years off from his job as an athletics development officer in Bradford, has been working with Chiwina since last November during which time the runner has knocked five seconds off his personal best in order to qualify for the Games. He is in Malawi as part of a programme set up last year to help tackle the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa.
"In Malawi, children are sports mad and will compete if they are given the chance. So sport provides a natural way to introduce HIV and AIDS education," said Woodcock.
Running from 2003 to 2006, the programme is targeting the 54% of children in Malawi who do not attend school and are most susceptible to infection due to a lack of information and support. The aim is to raise awareness of the disease in the 15-25 age group by integrating HIV/AIDS education into sport.
UK Sport has awarded £80,000 over four years in support of the programme. John Scott, Director of International Relations and Major Events at UK Sport, said: "UK Sport has had a long and productive relationship with VSO and we hope this new initiative in Malawi will play a key role in raising awareness of HIV and AIDS in the region.
"Sport is a powerful tool that can be used to stimulate development, particularly among the young. UK Sport is currently involved with a number of projects around the world to benefit countries less fortunate than us. We have long recognised the impact that VSO volunteers have at community level in effecting change, and we are delighted that this new programme is having similar results."
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