Olympics fever hits Swindon

Swindon Advertiser: Dan chambers, Ben Canton and Tyron Small at Wharf Green Dan chambers, Ben Canton and Tyron Small at Wharf Green

AS TEAM GB climbed further up the medals table at the weekend, Olympic fever swept across Swindon as hundreds tried their hand at a variety of different sports.

Wharf Green, in the town centre, is one of only 22 sites across the country that has been showing all the action from London on the Big Screen.

And throughout the period of the Olympics and Paralympics, the venue has been equipped for people of all ages and abilities to take part in a number of sports, from football and trampolining, to tennis and netball.

On Saturday, an orienteering maze was erected and proved popular among the crowds with more than 100 youngsters taking part.

On Sunday, basketball was the sport of the day, with players from Swindon Shock shooting some impressive hoops, before showing the rest of us how it’s done.

Founder of Swindon Shock, David Colclough, 37, of Freshbrook, said: “It has been fantastic and it is especially great to see the little ones getting involved and playing as well. Even my little boy has been getting involved – he normally just watches me, so it is great.

“The basketball following in Swin-don is growing, we want to get more people involved. Playing at Wharf Green under the Big Screen has been brilliant because it is the first time Team GB have been in the Olympics for basketball for many years.”

Tomorrow, Wharf Green is expected to be especially busy with trampolining, climbing and football taking over the area.

Doug Imrie, coaching co-ordinator for Swindon Council, said: “It has been brilliant although it really is weather dependent, we have been pretty lucky with only a few showers. Also, it depends a lot on whether Team GB are on the live screen, but people have been getting used to the seating and using the space well, coming and sitting down and watching the Olympics while their children try out some of the sports. There has been a brilliant atmosphere.

“Over the 16 days, we will have had 25 different sports and 55 local clubs taking part.

“There have been so many people getting involved and it is really what Swindon Council’s Olympics legacy is – we’ve got so many clubs already in the town and rather than setting up new clubs, we want to showcase the ones already in the borough.”

And as well as the live site, people around the town have been taking every opportunity possible to get sporty this summer as part of Swindon Council’s Community Games Tour, which is open to everyone from adults and children to young people and grandparents.

Sessions are held from 1-3pm in Quarry Road, Old Town on Mondays, Meadowcroft in Upper Stratton on Tuesdays, Buckhurst Fields on Wednesdays, Sevenfields on Thursdays and St Marks in the town centre on Fridays until August 31.

Doug said: “The community games tour has proved really popular – at Quarry Road we have been getting about 50 or 60 young people there every week which is just fantastic.

“We’ve found that as the parents come along to more events, they start to get a bit more confident and get involved as well.”

For more information visit www.challengeswindon.org.uk

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