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Newham youngsters first in London 2012 venue as it opens to public

Young people from Canning Town charity Community Links at the Lee Valley White Water Centre. Young people from Canning Town charity Community Links at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Thursday, September 20, 2012
1:00 PM

Young people from Newham charity Community Links rafted the rapids at the first London 2012 venue to open to the public.

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Based in Barking Road, Canning Town, the underprivileged youngsters had their first taste of a paddle sport at the Lee Valley White Water Centre just weeks after Team GB won gold and silver medals for the five day Olympic Canoe Slalom.

Bradley Bowers, 20, said: “It was a fantastic new experience” - a sentiment that was echoed by Brogan Hanlon, 14, who said: “I was very excited and trusted everyone on the raft to keep me in it. Now I definitely want to be an Olympic canoeist.”

Home to the 300m grade four Olympic Competition Course, around 13,000 litres of white water is pumped through the centre near Waltham Cross every second.

Jo Melchior, sports development officer for Community Links, said: “It is amazing to think that just five weeks ago thousands of people watched Tim Bailie and Etienne Stott win gold with David Florence and Richard Hounslow winning silver at Lee Valley White Water Centre and that our youngsters from Newham have now not only been on the same course as them but also met them and heard first hand about their Olympic victory.

“What better way to inspire and motivate youngsters than by letting them try an Olympic venue for themselves?”

The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority hope the White Water Centre becomes a popular visitor attraction and, from 2013, will work with the British Canoe Union to implement a number of programmes aimed at schools and community groups to introduce them to paddle sports.

Tickets for the new season of white water rafting are on sale at www.gowhitewater.co.uk or by calling 08456 770 606.

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