Project linked to London 2017 World Championships has aim of developing youth athletics in a number of countries around the world

A new global project which aims to develop youth athletics has been launched by UK Athletics (UKA) and UK Sport with endorsement from the IAAF’s Athletics for a Better World programme.

The project is linked to the London 2017 IAAF World Championships and will be known as ‘LEAP’ – the Leadership and Excellence in Athletics Programme. It will be jointly funded by UKA and UK Sport, with the IAAF also making a contribution.

LEAP is set to take place in 10 IAAF Member Federation countries and has been created with a purpose of introducing young people to athletics as well as developing their basic running, jumping and throwing abilities and creating a long-term passion for the sport.

UKA chairman Ed Warner described the project as having been a “key part” of London’s bid to host the 2017 World Championships.

“Our aim is to stage the best ever IAAF World Championships in 2017 and a big part of that will be the inspiration we create,” said Warner.

“LEAP ensures that athletics will develop as a direct result of the IAAF World Championships London 2017 and I’m excited about seeing the impact it can have.”

The programme lasts for three years in each country but to ensure a long-term impact, LEAP is also set to see Federation staff, school teachers and young leaders trained to enable increased athletics activity and an ongoing delivery of athletics in the community.

LEAP has already begun in Uganda where 14 project leaders have trained over 1000 young leaders who will continue to deliver athletics activities after the 2017 World Championships has ended. Mozambique, Senegal, Azerbaijan and Chile have also received training, while the five other countries involved are set to be announced by the autumn.

LEAP also forms part of the London 2017 Inspiration Programme, which looks to make an impact on a domestic level.

Warner added: “This project was a key part of the bid to host the IAAF World Championships London 2017 and will ensure that people are inspired to help the sport of athletics to grow across the world.

“It is great to see the work of LEAP already starting to have an impact and it will continue to grow as we build towards 2017.”

UK Sport chairman Rod Carr said: “The UK has a proud tradition of delivering global sports development projects to build on the incredible success of London 2012.

“UK Sport is delighted to support this ambitious initiative which demonstrates how a global sporting event like the World Athletics Championships can play a key role in supporting the growth of sport and enrich thousands of lives.”