Marshall, who is a patron for the Perfect Day Foundation, the charity who support the initiative, will lead a group heading to Zambia in August with the aim of raising £50,000 for 50 hours of sport. With the support of Peaty and his fellow athletes the team will undertake 10 hours of sport per day for five days at five different locations in Lusaka and the surrounding communities. They will be joined by 100's of young Zambians from four of the most deprived communities in Lusaka, where poverty, HIV, domestic and gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and homelessness are rife.
Netball, one of the five chosen sports alongside basketball, football, triathlon and volleyball, was chosen to raise awareness of the campaign, with Loughborough Lightning’s international shooters Peace Proscovia and Vanessa Walker putting the four celebrities through their paces.
The support didn’t stop there though as British Triathlon and England Netball CEO’s Jack Buckner and Jo Adams joined in the shoot off. Both governing bodies, alongside British Basketball, British Swimming and Volleyball England are supporting the campaign alongside the seven Wallace Group Universities: Bath, Cardiff Met, Durham, Loughborough, Northumbria, St Andrews and Stirling
This will be the 12th year of the 'Volunteer Zambia' project, which sends out dozens of students from the seven universities each year to deliver coaching, build new sports facilities and undertake sports development capacity building programs across Zambia.
Of the Wallace Group’s mission in Zambia, Loughborough University Director of Sport Development Tim Garfield said:
''Zambia is a country with major challenges; HIV has devastated whole communities and poverty is everywhere. Despite this its young people are friendly, optimistic and many have incredible sporting talent. They love the release and joy sport provides and I am passionate about giving them better sporting opportunities. Mel's utterly selfless efforts to give sporting chances to young Zambians who have next to nothing is inspiring.''
Mel Marshall, Olympic gold medal winning coach and Perfect Day patron added:
“On my previous visits to Zambia I have seen how valuable sport can be in enhancing the quality of life of young people who have next to nothing. I promised myself I would return every Olympic cycle and try to raise money to give them a chance to enjoy sport and learn valuable life skills. Every donation makes such a big difference to the lives of these young people.”
Of the initiative England manager Gareth Southgate said:
“We take for granted opportunities to play sport and the facilities we have in this country. Even facilities that we wouldn’t deem as good in the UK would be outstanding in countries like Zambia, so it’s important we do something about that. For the guys to go out there and inspire people to take up sport and maybe enable them to go to the next level, with some good coaching thrown in, is really exciting.”
“I’m not the biggest netball fan but as soon as I got playing I realised it was actually really fun! Hopefully today was the start of raising a lot of money to allow children to get involved in sport and be educated through sport. Hopefully then future generations in Zambia will all take up a sport and maybe some of them can even pursue it as a serious career.
“Four years ago we went out there and took on a 500km bike ride in 42 degrees. Some of the money we raised has helped build a sports facility and we will be starting our five day challenge this year from there, which is really exciting.”
Loughborough Lightning's Ugandan shooting sensation said:
''Loughborough University has given me opportunities I never dreamed were possible growing up in Uganda. I am just so lucky and I want to help other African girls to get the same life changing chances that I have enjoyed. There is so much talent waiting to be discovered and this initiative will bring hope to many young Zambian girls''.
England Netball CEO Joanna Adams also commented:
''I visited Zambia last summer and immediately fell in love with the place. Netball is growing rapidly in Zambia because it can be played anywhere and is relatively easy to organise. The young girls have so much talent. England Netball are fully committed to helping Zambian netball succeed and we are trying to help them qualify for the World Cup in Liverpool in two years’ time.''
British Triathlon CEO Jack Buckner added
''This is such a worthy cause. It's an inspirational program and the money raised will make a real difference to the quality of many young people’s lives. I am delighted the swimmers will also be promoting and taking part in my sport whilst out there. I am very happy to lend British Triathlons support to this appeal.”
To donate to this fantastic cause either text MELZ17 £10 to 70070 or head to www.theperfectdayfoundation.org