Inspirational Olympics give local clubs a boost

Ollie Maxwell

Ollie Maxwell

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SIR Chris Hoy cries his heart out when picking up his sixth gold medal, Mo Farah collapses over the line in victory, Jessica Ennis blasts away the competition in the heptathlon. The nation will for a long time remember these scenes from the London 2012 Olympics, but will the event “inspire a generation” as organisers hope?

Sports clubs and athletes in the area certainly think so.

Former professional handball player, Sergiu Tautan recently launched a handball club for ages 16 and above based in Rutland. Members play and train at Catmose Sports Centre in Oakham.

He said: “ Since the Olympics in London, more people have joined the club.

“Handball isn’t a very common sport but I think the Olympic games has definitely given it more recognition and it has certainly had a positive effect on the club.”

The adult team competes in a development league and Sergiu is staying hopeful for future Olympic champions in the children’s group.

He added: “Training involves learning the tactics and techniques associated with handball, we don’t just play games. You have to learn it before you play it.”

At the 30th Olympiad the GB Olympians bagged themselves 29 gold medals, 17 silver and 19 bronze, placing them third on the medal count table with a total of 65 medals.

Barbara Crellin is chairman of Rutland Athletic Club, a club open to ages eight and above.

Barbara said: “Although we only train during term time, the Olympics has definitely sparked an interest. We do track and field and cross country in the winter so it will certainly be interesting to see what effects the Olympics has had on membership.

“We encourage the members to have fun and enjoy themselves, they aren’t pushed in to anything specific. If they are really enjoying it and want to go further, we help them in the right direction to a more specialised club that will suit them”

In cycling, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and others have dominated the field for Team GB which will surely see youngsters reaching for their bikes with renewed enthusiasm

Velo Club Rutland has 75 adult members and set up a junior group this year to encourage youngsters.

Lawrence Green, membership secretary of the club, said: “The club isn’t very well known but we want people to know that new members of any ability are welcome.

“Since the Olympics, I have definitely noticed more people out on bikes.

“The Tour de France as well has certainly seen us running more rides.

“Our future star, Ollie Maxwell who is 15 years old, competed in the Tour of Holland. He did really well, coming 22nd. He’s a huge talent and could go very far if he keeps his mind on it and stays committed.”

The London 2012 Olympics have been a resounding success. Will they inspire a generation? There are certainly signs it might.