Prince William didn’t pull his punches as he visited Copper Box Arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London on Thursday. Accompanied by Kate, Princess of Wales, the heir to the throne marked the 10th anniversary of Coach Core, a programme aiming to form new coaches who will, in turn, inspire the next generation of athletes.
During the engagement, William and Kate met some of the young people supported by the initiative as well as those forming new coaches.
And the royals didn’t shy away from learning a few new sports’ fundamentals, with Prince William looking particularly keen to have a go at boxing.
Donning a pair of blue boxing gloves, the heir to the throne was shown how to hit the punching bag properly and how to throw punches at an adversary in the ring.
William, a keen football fan, was also shown how to kick the football by one of the coaches.
The Princess of Wales, on the other hand, learned the basics of wheelchair bowls.
This isn’t the first time Kate and William get involved in activities while visiting a Coach Core-related event.
In 2018, the now Prince and Princess of Wales met youngsters and coaches at South Essex Gymnastic Club, where they didn’t turn down the chance to play a brief game of tennis – despite Kate wearing heels.
After meeting his hosts, young athletes and coaches, Prince William said he and Kate were “delighted” to be there to celebrate Coach Core’s incredible milestone.
He said in a speech: “Sport has an incredible way of providing hope, connection and opportunity and when Coach Core was established ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, it was designed to use that power to help change young people’s lives. We are both so proud of all the remarkable progress that has been made.
Addressing the apprentices, William added: “We all face barriers and challenges in life, and these can sometimes take incredible bravery to overcome. Not only have you faced these down, you have positively impacted the lives of others along the way and inspired many more.
“We are incredibly excited to see what the future holds for all of you.”
The event was also attended by other illustrious supporters of Coach Core’s work, including six-time Olympic medallist and the organisation’s ambassador gymnast Max Whitlock.
He said: “We’re helping a lot more kids involved in sport by providing good coaches, good role models and [helping] these people into full-time employment – which is incredible. Two of the biggest problems in gymnastics – it’s the same in most sports – is space and coaches.
“Obviously Coach Core is trying to fulfil that need for more and more good quality coaches to support these children who are coming through.”
Both Kate and William are very close to Coach Core, as the initiative was launched a decade ago by the Royal Foundation, which they lead.
At the time, Prince Harry was also at the helm of the Foundation and, much like his brother and sister-in-law supported throughout the years the successful project.
Coach Core was launched in response to the London Riots exploded in August 2012 and with the goal to harness the spirit created by the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the capital that same summer.
The programme has been so successful that it has since become an independent charity and has helped more than 750 young people start meaningful careers with sports coaching apprenticeships.