Get down Shep, padel is Blue Peter’s new pet project!
We’re thinking the BBC should add a ‘P’ to its name (perhaps the British Padel Broadcasting Corporation?) after a week which has seen leading GB padel players feature in iconic children’s show Blue Peter and on prime-time TV programme The One Show.
First up was The Padel Club in Wilmslow, where owner Kris Ball and his team opened their doors to an extra special VIP when Blue Peter presenter Mwaka Mudenda dropped in to pick up top tips from GB internationals Nikhil Mohindra and Aimee Gibson.
The iconic TV show still attracts major youthful viewing figures and last year 160,000 children aged between six and 15 years won the highly coveted Blue Peter badge.
All of which Nikhil admitted (with his parents being big fans) left him feeling a little hot under his polo shirt collar: “To be on such a famous show like Blue Peter was something completely new to me. It was just a fantastic experience but one with a little bit of pressure when you consider all the viewers they have. My parents were big fans of Blue Peter and my mum went nuts when I was presented with my Blue Peter badge. That was a moment I won’t forget!”
Yet as Nikhil readily admitted, the chance to share padel with a new and much younger generation could prove priceless: “To introduce padel to such an influential show which millions of kids watch is just massive in terms of bringing awareness of the sport to a new younger generation who might just be encouraged to go and try padel out for themselves.”
My parents were big fans of Blue Peter. my mum went nuts when I was presented with my Blue Peter badge!
For Aimee padel is perfect for kids looking to get into racket sport. She said: “Padel is a very strategic game. You have to think about what shot you are playing as it’s not all about power and that is great for youngsters.”
And Nikhil has no doubt that Blue Peter presenter Mwaka could cut the padel mustard following her master class: “Mwaka was super keen. Hopefully the tips we gave her will be a help if she goes on to take padel up, which I think she might just do,” he said.
Nikhil, who was in Japan preparing to partner GB No 2 Sam Jones at the Osaka FIP Rise tournament when the programme aired, joked it was a good time to escape following his starring role on kids’ TV: “There’s been no one asking for my autograph but that’s maybe because Blue Peter doesn’t get shown in Tokyo!”
How to follow Blue Peter? In style if you’re GB No 1 Tia Norton! She joined TV presenter, actor and comedian Brian Conley to chat about padel for The One Show! She met Brian at Game4Padel’s Broxbourne Sports Club padel courts in Hertfordshire, chatting about her hopes for the future and the appeal of the sport. Brian also jumped on court with players from the club, talked to friends Karen, Julia, Eleanor and Sam who had ‘reconnected’ over padel and caught up with footballer Joe Babbage who picked up the game while playing for a Spanish football club.
Game4Padel’s Michael Gradon said: “The One Show is the latest media outlet to jump on the padel bandwagon. The fantastic publicity we’ve generated for this sport is really helping to accelerate its growth in the UK as more people hear about it and want to try it out for themselves. Our Game4Padel pop-up event in Westfield was covered by the BBC, ITV, CNN, Sky and Channel 5 among others, and since then the news coverage has continued at pace. It is great being at the forefront of a sport that is really making waves and we feel sure the story is only just beginning for this hugely exciting game.” 🎾