Mo Farah announced as National School Sport Champion

Mo is launching ‘Mo’s Mission’ to get more children in the UK physically active.

Four-time Olympic and six-time World Champion, Sir Mo Farah CBE, has today announced he will join children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust as their new National School Sport Champion.

  • In his role as Youth Sport Trust National School Sport Champion, Mo is launching ‘Mo’s Mission’ to get more children in the UK physically active
  • Mo’s Mission is underpinned by the Youth Sport Trust's new manifesto for change to improve children and young people’s wellbeing and achievement.

Mo’s decision to take on the role follows his retirement from competitive running in 2023 and is driven by his own experience of the role sport can play in supporting young people’s personal development and helping them find a sense of self and belonging within school.

As captured in the BBC documentary The Real Mo Farah’, Sir Mo credits school sport, and his PE teacher Alan Watkinson in particular, with saving him after he was trafficked into Britain as a child.

Sir Mo Farah said;

“Every young person should grow-up happy, healthy and with the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Ensuring they are physically active for 60-minutes a day is an important part of making this happen. 

“Too few children in the UK are exercising regularly and it’s having a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. In my new role as National School Sport Champion, it is my mission to get as many young people moving on a daily basis as possible. The power of sport helped me find my passion as a young person, so I’m firmly encouraging kids across the UK to get involved in ‘60 minutes a day - of PE, sport and play.’

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust said;

“The UK’s Chief Medical Officers’ recommend that children are vigorously active for at least 60 minutes a day. In children and young people, regular physical activity is associated with better physiological, psychological and psychosocial health, resulting in happier, healthier, more resilient young people.

 “Unfortunately, the most recent data from Sport England shows that fewer than half (47%) of children in England are active for this amount of time, and 1 in 3 (30%) are active for less than 30 minutes per day. This might not be surprising when you consider the fact that our research shows only 43% of parents are aware how active their children should be.

 “That is why we have teamed up with Sir Mo to launch Mo’s Mission, and why we are launching our new manifesto with ideas for change needed to make Mo’s Mission a reality.

"This manifesto for action – developed in partnership with representative and leading voices in health and wellbeing, education, physical activity and sport – sets out how to build a system which drives the transformational change needed to give every child an active start in life. We are calling on this and future governments to prioritise physical activity to improve children’s health and wellbeing; improving their educational attainment and ultimately increasing their happiness. Happy, healthy children grow up to be more productive adult citizens, alongside reducing the strain on the NHS.

“Our manifesto makes five key recommendations to create a nation of active and well schools, and give every child a chance to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.”

Ali Oliver, CEO of Youth Sport Trust
Ali Oliver, CEO of Youth Sport Trust

You can read more about the Youth Sport Trust new manifesto to improve children and young people’s wellbeing and achievement here.

Mo farah image courtsey of PACE Sports Management

Published on 17 January 2024