A record-breaking cricket star launched a new initiative to inspire young sports-fans.
West Indies all-rounder Chris Gayle, fresh from breaking the record for the fastest century in cricket last month, came to Wallington yesterday to launch the Chris Gayle Academy at the Cricket for Change (C4C) Cricket Centre in Plough Lane.
Gayle's project and its sister academy in Kingston, Jamaica, is part of the C4C initiative which aims to give disadvantaged young people the chance to change their lives through the sport.
Gayle said: "Cricket is indeed a powerful tool. It has certainly changed my life and I hope that my involvement with this academy will help to change the lives of others in a positive way as well."
Joining Gayle at the launch was Carshalton and Wallington MP, and cricket fan, Tom Brake. Mr Brake, who is fundraising for C4C, said: "The Chris Gayle Academy is yet another outstanding initiative which C4C is championing. It offers young disadvantaged people exactly what they need – a spark and inspiration and not charity.
"I am privileged to have met the first squad of the Chris Gayle Academy. I wish them best luck both on the cricket field and in life."
London-based participants in the Chris Gayle Academy will be based at the Wallington centre for a year and will have the opportunity to take part in an exchange programme with the Kingston academy.
All participants will draw up personal development plans with their coaches that cover their cricket training as well as life skills.