FOOTBALL proved to be Gretar Steinsson and Tamir Cohen’s vocation in life — but the Wanderers pair turned out at Bolton Arena this week to showcase some of their lesser known skills.

As part of a Premier League-wide venture, the Whites have linked-up with four local clubs to boost participation in some of the less traditional sports: judo, volleyball, table tennis and badminton, ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

“Premier League 4 Sport” is a £3.8million government scheme that hopes to encourage 25,000 11 to 16-year-olds to join local sports clubs by the time of the London Games.

Pupils from four local high schools — St Joseph’s, Rivington and Blackrod, Thornleigh and Smithills — joined Steinsson and Cohen in trying their hand at the four sports, revealing some hidden talents from the boys usually more attuned to having a ball at their feet.

Steinsson listed “DVD watching and relaxing” as his top two hobbies, before not so reluctantly divulging some prowess with a badminton racquet.

“It was really big in my hometown so I played it for almost 10 years with my friends,” he said. “But I had a brighter future in football than I did in badminton.

“I went to competitions and won a couple of trophies. Nothing big and I wasn’t Olympic potential but I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to get a racket in my hand again.

“My contract ends at Bolton around the Olympics so you never know — I might just try again.”

Cohen showed his talent with a table tennis paddle on the club’s pre-season tour of Germany and Holland, with competition around the team hotel’s table often proving just as fierce as the games they played on the pitch.

And, after whetting his whistle again against former Olympian and English number one Andrea Holt, he admitted table tennis is one of his guilty pleasures away from football.

“I played it as a kid,” he said. “Not professionally, just in my basement with my father and friends. We had a table at home, so whenever we were around we went down there to play.

“I don’t play so much now, just the odd game here and at the club. I played quite a bit in pre-season over the summer, it was very competitive; Riga is good, Matty Taylor is good, Sean Davis is a very good player.

“It’s a great game — I really enjoyed playing again.”

Currently, 16 local schools are involved in the scheme, with 20 sessions running each week in five different sports.

Co-ordinator Nicol Meredith says the involvement of the club has helped to give the project a good start.

“Kids are really getting interested and it’s going even better than expected,” she said.

“We are using the power of the Bolton Wanderers badge to attract people to participate and it’s great for the kids to see players trying the sports out.”