EVERTON and Liverpool football clubs have joined forces to launch the Premier League 4 Sport programme.
Less than three weeks ahead of the Merseyside derby the rival clubs came together in support of the government and Premier League backed initiative that is offering youngsters the chance to get involved in Olympic sports.
Blues defender, Sylvain Distin, was joined by Reds left-back Emiliano Insua at the Greenbank Sports Academy in South Liverpool where the pair took part in each of the four Olympic sports being promoted by the programme - badminton, judo, volleyball and table tennis.
Given the injury problems at Everton and Liverpool this season, Distin and Insua wisely decided to take it easy on the judo demonstration.
But both players displayed a decent aptitude for the other sports on show as they took on children from local schools.
Explained Distin: 'I played a lot of different sports as a youngster, but mainly basketball.
'That wasn't because of my height, but because it was more practical in France. We don't have as many football fields in France as we have in England, but we do have more basketball courts and handball courts.
'I was a big basketball fan and used to follow the NBA.
'They're not necessarily the kind of skills you'd use in a football career, but sport is sport and it is all about timing and hand-eye co-ordination, so I guess it helped.
'I also played volleyball at school and liked it, but not so much badminton.
'It was good fun playing the table tennis, badminton and especially the volleyball, although I was told I couldn't do the judo because our injury list was bad enough!
'I wouldn't have minded because they were all school children!'
Insua said: 'I played a bit of basketball and also some volleyball when I was younger but was never good enough to try and take them on professionally.
'Football was always my first sport and that is where my focus was.
'It is great to see all the kids getting involved in all the sports here. They look like they are really enjoying themselves, which is a big part of all sports.
'If you want to be the best at any sport, be that a professional footballer or an Olympian at judo, table tennis or whatever, you have to try hard every day to improve.
'But the most important thing with any sport is that you enjoy yourselves.'