Team GB and ParalympicsGB stars joined the Path to Paris in Manchester to celebrate six months to go until this summer’s showpiece gets underway.

Javier Bello, Ashley Facey and Beth Munro were in attendance at Graystone Action Sport in Salford as local schoolchildren launched Path to Paris, a virtual challenge established by Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s official youth engagement programme.

The programme aims to inspire children between the ages of four and 11 and their families to get active ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while promoting a healthier lifestyle and inspiring the next generation of athletes.

And beach volleyball star Bello, 23, said: “Path to Paris is a really amazing programme, because as athletes we are trying to get ready for the Olympic Games, we are doing everything that we can to improve our performance.

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“Alongside that, it means bringing people with us. They become inspired by that and then they become the next generation of athletes in 10 or 15 years’ time; going to the Olympics as fans, teammates and coaches.

“I think it can be only beneficial to have more and more kids involved in my sport and in general.

“That is what Path to Paris is about, it is getting them active, it doesn’t matter what sport, what activity they do, it is about making sure they do stuff after school and a community gets built up over time.”

Powered by funding from Sport England and Spirit of 2012 and supported by local and national partners, the Path to Paris challenge invites teams across the nation to log their physical activity on their website which is converted into distance to power them around the world, unlocking exciting prizes and exclusive rewards. So far, over 13.5 million minutes have been logged which equals a staggering 8.1 million km travelled.

Path to Paris provides a fantastic opportunity to bring positive change into all aspects of children’s lives, all while bringing families, school communities, and wider communities together.

The countdown is on until the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with just six months to go until the Olympic Opening ceremony. Team GB and ParalympicsGB are celebrating this milestone with a Countdown to the Games event in Manchester.

Tokyo 2020 taekwondo silver medallist Munro, 30, said: “It is so important, and not just from a physical health point of view.

“Physical activity is good to maintain good health, but to get involved and find a sport you enjoy and have fun doing, then you can potentially reach higher heights and dream big, take it to an elite level and potentially go to the Olympic Games.

“Events like this are so important to get them involved (young people) involved and just see different sports.”

Funded by Sport England and Spirit of 2012, Get Set and Path to Paris carries on the mantra of inspiring a generation through exposing young people to Great Britain athletes hard at work with the ambition of competing at this years’ Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Table tennis star Facey, 28, said: “When I was a kid, it was very important for them to see individuals and role models like ourselves, because that’s how I got inspired in my sport, seeing older people and ex-sportspeople still in the sport.

“It is good to see people still in sports, that have won medals or that are a bit older, so they can get inspired. 

“I think that is a good idea; so they can get inspired, so I think it is a good idea, get them out of the classroom, engaging with others and doing things they have never done before.”