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    Pope to launch sports centre in London

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    ODN

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    Pope Benedict XVI will pay tribute to his sporty predecessor with the launch of a new foundation during his visit to Britain, it has been disclosed.


    The Pope will launch the John Paul II Foundation for Sport at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, on Friday during a school assembly broadcast live to 800,000 pupils across Britain.


    The Catholic Church said 32 children from school years nine to 11 have been selected from schools across the UK to make a sporting pledge before the Pope at the launch of the foundation.


    The pupils - who have been chosen for their success in sport - will vow to engage in sport and "play with the right spirit, enjoy myself, give of my best, respect others, myself and the rules".


    Former England and Manchester United player Brian Kidd, assistant manager of Manchester City Football Club, will light an inauguration candle at the foundation launch as a symbol of God's light present in the world of sport, the Church said.


    The foundation aims to train future youth and adult leaders of sport and encourage sporting excellence.


    Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, was a keen football player in his youth.


    He was known to jog in the Vatican gardens, hike regularly in the mountains and was a keen swimmer.