Jamaican Olympic sprint champions gearing up for London 2012 paid a special visit to London school children as part of a global road safety campaign.
Beijing 2008 winners including Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, 100m champion; Nesta Carter, a gold medallist in the men’s 4x100m relay; and Sherone Simpson, 100m silver medallist, visited Dulwich, south east London, for the ‘Zenani campaign’, launched in memory of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter, who died in a road traffic collision.
They were joined by team mates Kaliese Spencer, 400m hurdler; Sunette Viljoen, African javelin champion; and Gillian Sanders, African triathlete, at the Alleyn’s School track.
The athletes hope their high-profile support, particularly in the run-up to London 2012, will raise awareness of one of the biggest killers in the world, according to Bruce James, president of the elite MVP Track and Field Club.
He said: “Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people worldwide but these deaths and injuries can be prevented. As we approach the London Olympics the world’s attention is upon us.
“We are here in London on the world stage so we are taking this opportunity to join the Zenani campaign and to call for action to save children’s lives.”
The campaign, set up by the Mandela family, is part of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Its target is to save five million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries.
Gillian Sanders said: “As an Olympic triathlete, I know just how important it is to have safe roads. I’ve had two personal friends lose their very young lives on the roads in separate incidents.
“It’s totally unacceptable that road crashes are the number one killer of young people worldwide – that is why I’m calling for action to protect children on the roads both in South Africa and around the world.”
For more information contact Miriam Lea on 020 7944 3151.