Olympic legacy a Hitz

Thomas Hitzlsperger has been working hard at Chadwell Heath to return to action for the club's Barclays Premier League run-in - but used a break from his rehab to take part in a Premier League 4 Sport event at the Boleyn Ground.

The Germany midfielder has made excellent progress in his recovery from a thigh operation and has begun to do outside work on the training pitches. After one such gruelling session with the fitness coaches, he headed straight to the stadium to join in on a table tennis tournament featuring youngsters involved with the club's Community Sports Trust.

The youngsters participating in the Olympic sport were from All Saints School and Sydney Russell School in Barking and Dagenham. They were taking on children from Saint Aloysius School in Islington, with their north London 'visitors' for the matches in the Boleyn Ground dressing rooms naturally sporting the red of Arsenal.

The kids all showed off their skills taught to them through the programmes overseen by the club's community department - while also getting the chance to see Hitzlsperger show off his own ping-pong prowess.

"It was fun playing with the kids, they all seemed to be enjoying it and so did I," said Hitzlsperger. "They were good, you could see that they have been training and playing quite a bit, they were of a very good standard.

"It was West Ham against Arsenal, so I was determined to try and make sure it was us on the winning side! It was a really good event."

While the 28-year-old is targeting a playing return sooner rather than later, he is also looking forward to next year's Olympic Games coming to this part of the capital.

"Of course I would like to go there and watch some of the sports that will be going on. This is biggest sporting event in the world.

"I would like to say as a footballer that is the World Cup, but it isn't, it is the Olympics and especially because it's here in London.

"There are so many people looking forward to it and if I get the opportunity, I will definitely go and watch as much as I can, particularly the athletics."

Premier League 4 Sport uses the prominence of football to help drive interest in a wide range of sporting activities. As part of the Hammers commitment to Olympic legacy, the club is regularly involved in such projects - helping local children to get active and have the opportunity to try new things.

Annabelle Bailey, West Ham's Premier League 4 Sport co-ordinator, oversaw the tournament. She said: "This event demonstrates the contribution West Ham is making to delivering Olympic legacy.

"We look forward to continuing our partnership with Arsenal through the Premier League 4 Sports programme and through football, encouraging more and more young people to get into sport."

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, said: "In the run up to 2012, we want to see more young people from all walks of life getting involved in sport.

"These new clubs are an excellent example of the how the Olympic legacy will benefit people right across the country for years to come and how the Games can be used to inspire more people to get active."