Posted on: Thu 25 Mar 2010

Hilario was joined at Cobham on Wednesday by international athletes from four other sports and more than 50 youngsters as he helped launch Chelsea's Premier League 4 Sport initiative.

The goalkeeper, currently recovering from injury, was on hand with representatives from judo, table tennis, badminton and volleyball, as well as the club's youth team, to launch the scheme which uses the power of football to boost sporting participation in local schools and clubs.

Premier League 4 Sport is a £3.8m partnership with the Government and sees all 20 top flight clubs linking up with community sports clubs to help attract young people in their area to take up minor sports. It is designed to help with the Government's commitment to offer young people five hours of sport a week, as part of its 2012 legacy plans.

During the visit, Hilario tried his hand at each of the four sports, with his competitive side shining through on both the judo mat and in the table tennis, while the youth lads immersed themselves in the badminton and volleyball, teaming up with the youngsters to test their expertise.

H tries his hand at Judo

'I think it's very important to introduce kids to other sports, it's not only about football,' Hilario said afterwards. 'It's great that a big team like Chelsea can help kids to find different sports because there are more sports than football - as we saw there is table tennis, badminton, judo and volleyball in there. It also helps kids to meet more people and stay healthy.

'When I was young I lived next to a beach and I played beach volleyball and also used to play a bit of table tennis. I thought I was okay at table tennis until today, but the lady in there was much stronger than me, she was very good.'

The lady in question was coach Alison Broe, who competed for Great Britain at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and easily outclassed the 34-year-old stopper.

H loses at table tennis

'He has a bit of potential and he did say before that I had no chance, so I was a little bit worried about him,' she admitted. 'He was alright, but I played professionally and in the Olympics, Commonwealth and European games, so I was okay.

'This is a fantastic event; things like this are brilliant and bring more publicity for us as a sport. We're getting out into the schools and linking with a club like Chelsea is fantastic.'

Working with the grassroots sport delivery bodies, the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, the aim is to get 25,000 young people from across the country, aged between 11 and 16, to join local sport clubs in the four Olympic sports during the two and a half-year scheme.

The youth lads take in the freestyling

Olympic hopefuls including judo's Colin Oats, table tennis player Natalie Green and volleyballer Jodie Gooding joined the Portuguese international along with representatives from the Premier League, Sport England and the Youth Sports Trust to celebrate the initiative, while football freestyler Jeremy Lynch (above) gave a skills masterclass.

Andrew Morgan, Chelsea Football in the Community's Essex development manager oversaw the event, and is delighted the club is able to use its appeal to help a large number of kids.

'We are using the name of Chelsea to increase participation levels within the four sports leading up to the Olympics,' he told the club website. 'It's a great programme for us and shows that we're not just doing football initiatives, we're doing a lot of work around communities and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

'It's great to bring kids from Essex out of their home county across to Cobham, this place being so fantastic.'

You can find out more about the Premier League 4 Sport campaign by clicking here.