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Harry gets boot at coaching event

Prince Harry has received one of the more unusual gifts to mark a royal event - a size 15 basketball shoe.

US basketball star Carmelo Anthony, who plays for the New York Knicks, gave Harry the enormous right boot he had signed on its toe and a team vest emblazoned with the name "Wales" above the number 15.

The presentation took place as the two men recognised the first graduates of an ambitious sports programme - Coach Core - which boosts the career prospects and life skills of disadvantaged young people by training them to become professional sports coaches and mentors.

Anthony will be playing in an official National Basketball Association (NBA) league match tomorrow night when his team take on the Milwaukee Bucks at the 02 arena in London.

During the presentation staged at St James' Palace in London Harry joked about whether he needed to come to the game to get the other basketball boot.

More than 30 people have completed the year-long Coach Core course and many said their practical coaching experience had helped them find work or allowed them to pursue more formal qualifications at college or university.

The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry created the programme which is run in partnership with the organisation Glasgow Life in Scotland and with Greenhouse Charity in London.

In a speech Harry praised the achievements of the young men and women, he said: "All those graduating today have also worked fantastically hard in getting to this point. Completing the Coach Core programme has, I know, not been easy - but then trying to be the best you can be, isn't easy.

"Having met a number of you over the past year or so, I have some understanding of the challenges you faced; William, Catherine and I have all been hugely impressed by the resilience and determination you have shown in overcoming these challenges."

He added: "Your commitment to the programme and resulting success has helped to prove the Coach Core programme is effective at generating life changing opportunities through sport. I am absolutely delighted that the same opportunity is now being enjoyed by a second cohort of apprentices in London and Glasgow.

"I hope that by 2016 we will see further programmes springing up in other parts of the UK, providing opportunities for more young people like you."

Anthony joined the prince as the NBA is not only working in partnership with the Royal Foundation's United for Wildlife initiative but supports Coach Core.

Retired basketball star John Amaechi, one of the first English sportsmen to play in the NBA, and a leading advocate for the power of good sports coaching, was also invited to the reception.

Declan Gilmour, 19, from Glasgow said he had no prospects before completing Coach Core b ut the hands-on experience he received has been instrumental in improving his prospects and he is going on to further training and hopes to become a physical education instructor.

He added: "If it wasn't for Coach Core I wouldn't be here today - it's given me everything, not just support for training but in life as well, I'd encourage everyone to do it."


From Belfast Telegraph