Olympian Tessa Sanderson feels Games sporting legacy has got “lost”

British former Olympic javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson carries the Olympic torch during its relay jo

British former Olympic javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson carries the Olympic torch during its relay journey across London on its way to the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the O2 Arena in Greenwich. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

As a six times Olympian, who carried the flame for last year’s Games, you would expect Tessa Sanderson to sing its praises a year on.

Tessa Sanderson

Tessa Sanderson - Credit: EMPICS Sport

But while the former British javelin thrower and Olympic gold medallist believes the London Games inspired people to take up sport, she feels left alone locally in helping people make the leap to becoming a professional.

Tessa Sanderson CBE

Tessa Sanderson CBE - Credit: EMPICS Sport

She set up the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy, a registered charity, offering disabled and able bodied youngsters professional sports coaching while carrying on with education or work.

Tessa Sanderson. Photo by Ian West/PA Wire

Tessa Sanderson. Photo by Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ms Sanderson said: “Legacy is just a word politicians’ use, but they’re not on the ground to see what is happening.

“There’s a legacy in what I’m doing and the support I get from Newham College and people locally. But when I look around me in Newham I can’t see anyone else doing the same.”


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Instead Ms Sanderson feels the government has let the legacy get “lost” by not providing enough funding.

“The Games inspired people to do sport, but to carry on with it at a higher level people need more support, which is where I think the legacy has got lost.

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“You need ambassadors or experienced coaches to work with PE teachers in schools to support students with a potential.

“The legacy hasn’t died, but I expected a lot more to be happening, and think a lot more legacy needs to be seen.”

But Ms Sanderson acknowledges the world-class venues left behind at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

She said: “I think the intentions of the people behind the park are good and that they want to involve the community for things like sports days and not just use the venues for major sports events.”

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “We’re completely committed to helping deliver a lasting sports legacy.

“We’ve made a good start with 1.4 million more people playing sport than when we won the Games in 2005.”

He added that over £1 billion of public money is being invested in youth and community sport over four years, and that Sport England also provides funding.

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