July 26 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Senior reporter
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Rowing legend Sir Matthew Pinsent is set to abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit as the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton comes to the former Olympic Park on Sunday.
The four-time Olympic gold medal winner will be carrying the unique baton during his descent before handing it over to the first of four residents from the surrounding Olympic boroughs, chosen to carry it around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The day will also see more than 50 free sports on offer to visitors throughout the park, giving them a chance to try their hand at everything from volleyball and table tennis to wrestling.
The “festival of sport” is part of the Active People, Active Park programme run by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) which will offer free sporting sessions to residents in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest.
Sir Matthew Pinsent said he was “nervous but excited” about his early morning challenge, adding: “It will be a terrific day and will hopefully inspire Londoners to get behind Team England and to get active themselves.”
The Orbit is the Uk’s tallest sculpture, standing at 115m high.
Batonbearers will include Young Mayor of Newham Jonathan Bennett, 16, from Plaistow, who said carrying the Queen’s Baton – which has been through nearly 70 Commonwealth countries – would be “top of the list” of his achievements as young mayor.
The baton will go on to 10 Downing Street later on in the day, before going on to Glasgow for the opening of the Games on July 23.
Dennis Hone, LLDC’s chief executive said: “We can’t wait to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and see Sir Matthew Pinsent abseiling down the ArcelorMittal Orbit with the Baton - I hope he has a head for heights.
“I would encourage everyone to come on June 8 and have a go at one of the great free sports that will be on offer.”
See our Parklife section for more information about Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.