Search

Newham residents can try out sports for free at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

17:38 27 May 2014

Reporter Freddy Mayhew and London Development Officer for Table Tennis England Tom Browne play table tennis . Photo: David Mirzoeff

Reporter Freddy Mayhew and London Development Officer for Table Tennis England Tom Browne play table tennis . Photo: David Mirzoeff

Archant

If you’ve ever thought about trying out a new sport but weren’t sure how to get started, this latest scheme is for you.

Getting to grips with the basics against a ball machine. Photo: David MirzoeffGetting to grips with the basics against a ball machine. Photo: David Mirzoeff

Active People, Active Park (Apap) is offering visitors to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park the chance to try their hand at more than 20 new sports ranging from athletics and hockey to rowing and even Nordic walking over the next three years.

All Newham residents will have the chance to try out some of the activities for free, with the programme remaining “affordable and accessible”, according to a spokesman – though prices are yet to be determined.

The programme will launch more activities as part of the Festival of Sport on Sunday, June 8, when the Commonwealth Games Baton will travel around the park in the build up to the international sporting event in Glasgow this summer.

Ex boxer Barry McGuigan will kick off the festival at 9.30am with local school children and athletes.

Reporter Freddy Mayhew "spikes" the volleyball while coached by 2012 Olympian Rachel Laybourne from Vollyball England. Photo: David MirzoeffReporter Freddy Mayhew "spikes" the volleyball while coached by 2012 Olympian Rachel Laybourne from Vollyball England. Photo: David Mirzoeff

The Apap scheme has already been endorsed by Olympic and Paralympic Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe, who said: “Initiatives like this can help us achieve our long-term vision for a fitter nation.”

Parklife went along to try out some of the sports open to residents, including table tennis and volleyball.

Despite wet and blustery conditions, learning the basics of these two Olympic sports was an eye-opener into how accessible and fun they really are.

It didn’t hurt that offering coaching advice for the day was former Olympic British indoor volleyball player Rachel Laybourne.

Volleyball is one of the more than 20 sports open to Newham residents. Photo: David MirzoeffVolleyball is one of the more than 20 sports open to Newham residents. Photo: David Mirzoeff

After explaining the basics of the “spike” and “dig” moves, she said volleyball could be whatever players wanted it to be.

“It’s fast if you want it to be fast, it’s slow if you want it to be slow. It caters for all kind of abilities and ages and if you aren’t able-bodied there’s sitting volleyball.

“It’s a very tactical game but it’s also just about having a great time with your mates.”

Slightly trickier – thanks in no small part to the wind - was getting to grips with a barrage of table tennis balls being fired from a ball machine at the other end of an outdoor table tennis table.

On hand to demonstrate the proper technique for a pin-point accurate forehand and backhand was Development Officer Tom Browne.

He said he hoped to create a local community club for the sport, adding people enjoyed it because it was something “pretty much everyone can play”.

“It doesn’t matter what size or shape or ability you are,” he said. “It’s a game that everyone finds a lot of fun.”

Visit queenelizabeth olympicpark.co.uk for more information about the Active People, Active Park programme.

Latest Newham News Stories

15:30
Maryland Primary School debate

Homework has long been a point of argument between pupils and teachers, and that didn’t change when Maryland Primary School’s debate team took on a group of staff members to discuss just that.

Maryland
12:30
Plashet School, Plashet Grove, East Ham - Former students get together and speeches
Former students all from the year 1974-1978 Left to right: Diana Dawes, Cheryl Barnett, Jackie Reeves, Lena Nixon, Jean Segree and Juliette Bryan.

It was a day filled with reminiscing and bringing back old memories at Plashet School on Saturday.

Plashet School
09:00
Sabina Banu, who was homeless, now works at Pret A Manger.

Re-entering the workforce can be a positive experience for people who have been long-term unemployed.

Canning Town
08:00
Teacher pointing at hand in classroom

Most people can’t wait to leave school but if you’re someone that’s keen to dive back into the classroom one of these five jobs could be perfect for you.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more
Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe