Sports talk - July 2012

Sports Talk - July 2012

BMX Track
BMX Track

Look at Legacy

This edition contains information on an award winning east London community BMX project. In April Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s partnership with Access Sport was rewarded at the London Pro-Active Sports Awards, where the East London BMX Legacy Project took top honours in the ‘Project of the Year’ award.  Beating over 50 other nominations from across London, the project was rewarded for its innovative approach to the development of the sport and the creation of five brand new BMX tracks across the six Host Boroughs. 

In addition to the permanent tracks, five new BMX clubs have been created offering extensive opportunities for the community across east London to engage in the sport.  

This project, heavily supported by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, has provided the community with the chance to get involved in cycling and BMX at a local level. Participants of the BMX project are now being consulted on the transformation of the Olympic BMX track to ensure it is fit for purpose and provides local young people with the opportunity to progress in their sport.

For more information on the East London Legacy BMX Project:

Hackney BMX
Hackney BMX

Lee Valley VeloPark

Lee Valley VeloPark, with the Olympic Velodrome as its centrepiece, will be a fantastic multi cycling discipline venue. The site will accommodate track cycling and BMX events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and in legacy the site will be developed to include mountain bike routes and a road circuit around the Velodrome.  The venue will prove to be a fantastic community based and inclusive venue for cycling.

Preparations and planning are well underway to ensure each of the individual cycling disciplines cater for community participation usage, as well as having the capacity and ability to host major national and international competitions, creating a hub of excellence for the South of England.


Following the hugely successful UCI Track World Cup, which acted as the London 2012 test event, there has been a fantastic announcement of a new agreement to increase Britain’s future medal chances and deliver a long term legacy for track cycling.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, the National Cycling Centre (Manchester), the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome (Glasgow) and British Cycling, aims to:

  • unite organisations to develop track cycling champions
  • collaborate to bring high profile international track cycling events and top riders to the country
  • work together on a  range of national and regional events for all levels of cyclists to enhance cycling as a sport
  • share best practice between all four organisations and work together on strategy, procurement and profile to ensure the best use of public money

Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and The Olympics said: “This agreement is a big boost for cycling in Britain. It will help us uncover new cycling talent, host world class events and promote the sport across the country, encouraging the next generation to take up cycling.”

Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) said: “The signing of this agreement is a fantastic step forward for cycling in the UK with the goal of delivering first rate cycling facilities and programmes. The Velodrome in the Olympic Park will leave a legacy in east London, and with this agreement in place it is a great step forward to extend this legacy nationwide.”

Lee Valley White Water Centre

Prior to the Games, Lee Valley White Water Centre was open to the public for ten months with over 135,000 visitors, 27,000 rafters and 5,000 canoeists already paddling the Olympic standard competition course, at the only purpose built London 2012 Venue to open to the public.

The Legacy Loop has been busy with school groups, clubs and freestyle canoeists and kayakers benefiting from the flexibility of having two courses that can cater for all levels. Over 1,820 people have paddled on the Legacy Loop as well as hundreds of school groups. Companies and organisations have used the flat water lake for raft building and team building exercises and thousands of members of the public have just taken the opportunity to relax in the sun and enjoy lunch at the café at an Olympic venue.

The centre will also host the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.

Ride the Rapids 1
Ride the Rapids 1

The centre has also seen a lot of club usage with Westminster Boating Club, Herts Young Mariners Base, Tower Hamlets Canoe Club, Regents Canoe Club, Phoenix Canoe Club, Allenbury’s Sports & Social Canoe Club, Clacton Canoe Club, Meridian Canoe Club, Castle Canoe Club, Laurence Coaching and Herts Canoe Club all making use of the centre, with 1,306 paddlers signed up as members who have been assessed as competent to use the Legacy Loop or Olympic standard competition course.

Lee Valley White Water Centre has already provided almost 2,500 young people from across the region an early taste of sporting Legacy ahead of London 2012. The Lee Valley Schools Festival in 2011, which was held again in 2012, saw children from each of the 33 London Boroughs and all local authorities across Essex and Hertfordshire raft the rapids for free.

Broxbourne Ride the Rapids

Over the past six months the Sports Development Team at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, in conjunction with Broxbourne Borough Council, has been delivering the Broxbourne Schools ‘Ride the Rapids Project’. The project aims to give school children from all eight secondary educational establishments in the Broxbourne Borough the opportunity to raft the Legacy Course at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, for free!

Ride the Rapids 2
Ride the Rapids 2

Representatives from John Warner School, Goffs School, Cheshunt School, Turnford School, Rivers Education Centre, Hailey Hall School, Broxbourne School, Herts Regional College and St Mary’s attended the Lee Valley White Water Centre between May and October 2011 for an early taste of paddlesport activity at this world class venue and host of the London 2012 Canoe Slalom events.

In total 500 young people from the borough got the opportunity to ride the rapids at the Olympic venue for free. This project shows a great commitment from Lee Valley and Broxbourne Council to delivering community opportunities at the centre. Discussions are now underway as to how this project can be diversified to include young people at risk of offending, and other social inclusion programmes.

Lee Valley Tennis Centre

Lee Valley Tennis Centre will be situated on the 27 acre Eton Manor site in the north of Olympic Park, and will accommodate the wheelchair tennis competition during the Paralympic Games. Work on the Games Time Venue is now completed with LOCOG’s overlay starting to go in. The legacy facilities will consist of four indoor and six outdoor courts, creating a hub of community and wheelchair tennis. In addition, the centre will be complemented by the Hockey Centre with two competition pitches and the potential for a number of five-a-side football pitches, creating a multi-use facility for the public.

Tennis Court
Tennis Court

The Six Host Borough Tennis group, made up of representatives from Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Tennis Foundation, Pro Active East and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Sports Development Officers, are already activating the local tennis legacy with new and improved facilities in each of the host boroughs.  The Six Host Borough Group is also working hard to activate as many mass participation projects as possible to ensure the development of tennis across east London.

The team is engaging with local tennis clubs to devise the best way of moving forward, ensuring the largest possible community use at the centre. Plans for working with the local area are well underway, ensuring the lasting legacy for tennis, the local clubs and the local community.

Lee Valley Tennis Centre
Lee Valley Tennis Centre

Work has begun to up skill the local community, with the Six Host Borough Tennis group, in partnership with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, funding and supporting young people from across these boroughs to become Level 1 and Level 2 tennis coaches. In return, these coaches contribute several volunteer hours into the local community through the Beacon status sites developed and created.

Lee Valley Hockey Centre

Lee Valley Hockey Centre, also situated on the Eton Manor site, will re-use the hockey pitches from the Olympic Hockey Event on the Olympic Park, relaying them into the new position after the London 2012 Games. Lee Valley Hockey Centre will accommodate two competition pitches and will facilitate World Championship events.  The centre will provide a fantastic mix of elite sport through to grassroots participation, ensuring a fantastic legacy at the venue.

The venue will also host the 2016 European Hockey Championships

Hockey Pitch
Hockey Pitch

Focus on All Ability

Earlier in 2012 Lee Valley Regional Park Authority formally adopted the Inclusive and Active 2 principles – the kitemark in London for disability equality in sport, which is managed on behalf of Sport England at pan London level by Interactive. This consolidates and takes forward the work across the Authority, and specifically by those working in the sports and physical activity sector, relating to disability sport. One of the first actions has been to take advantage of the recently revamped Disability Awareness training module provided by Interactive as an online resource. The Authority has committed all staff to carry out this training as evidence of its pledge to Interactive.

All Ability Club 2
All Ability Club 2

At a sport specific level, the Authority continues to ensure it works with partners to maximise sport opportunities for disabled people. Recent notable examples include the athletics programme at Lee Valley Athletics Centre. The centre offers a weekly series of sessions; one aimed at foundation level community participants and one for more regular athletes who usually become members of Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club, which has strong representation by athletes who compete both in mainstream athletics where feasible and in specific disability events. One such event recently successfully hosted at the centre was the London Disability Championships which drew almost 150 participants from across London, an increase of over 40% from the inaugural event in 2011.

Wheels are Spinning

The wheels are firmly in motion at the Lee Valley All Ability Cycling Club, based in Tottenham Marshes. The club offers cycling experiences for all cyclists of any ability. Based at Tottenham Marshes, the club utilises the numerous cycle paths travelling through Lee Valley Regional Park and its pool of adapted bikes.

The club that has been growing steadily from its formation, now has over 80 members, the majority of which are from local disability schools and groups. There has been interest from the Camden society and the club have successfully applied for a bike club Grant.

For more information please contact

All Ability Club
All Ability Club

Olympic Torch Tackles the White Water

Torch Relay 1
Torch Relay 1

The Olympic Torch rafted the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre, host venue to the Olympic Canoe Slalom event. During the ceremony at the iconic venue, future Olympic hopeful Zachary Franklin carried the Torch in a raft that was paddled by members of GB raft team down the Olympic standard competition course in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The stop off in Waltham Cross was part of the Olympic Flame’s 145 mile journey through 14 communities on its journey from Chelmsford to Cambridge.

Torch Relay 2
Torch Relay 2

After the Torch made two trips down the white water, the crowds were entertained by freestyle kayakers and then thousands of plastic ducks were released onto the course with the winning ticket holder awarded a voucher to go rafting.

Maximising Space and Usage

As part of our work to make maximum use of our venues and open spaces we also look for innovative activities that may go beyond the core sport on offer. For example, at Lee Valley Athletics Centre we established a popular and well-reputed parkour or free running session which is held weekly. Initially set up with the support of Sport England Sportivate funding from Pro Active North London, the venue is seen within the parkour community as one of the best indoor locations to do the sport. We regularly attract close to twenty participants from a range of London Boroughs, and it is particularly encouraging that they are nearly all within the 14 to 25 age group targeted by Sport England, and that there is a high proportion of black and ethnic minority youngsters who attend, reflecting the north and east London community. We have established a pricing model that gives affordable sport provided by a high quality and motivational coach provided by Parkour Generations, the sport’s main coaching provider, in a world class environment.

The centre has also been used to showcase the indoor versions of watersports including rowing and canoeing. In particular, we have twice hosted the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships, a large national schools event attracting over 2,000 youngsters ranging from novices through to national club level rowers, who compete on Concept 2 machines. Paddlesport has followed the model used by rowing and Lee Valley Athletics Centre has similarly hosted National Indoor Kayak events that cater for junior, senior and corporate paddlers of all levels, with members of Team GB attending as Ambassadors for the sport.

We have also made good use of the Lee Valley Pathway and towpaths around the centre which provide traffic free and scenic opportunities for running and cycling, and this provided an ideal setting for the inaugural Lee Valley Duathlon in April 2012. Working closely with Triathlon England and with excellent volunteer support on the day from sports students at Barnet and Southgate College, a range of junior, senior and veterans covered a run/bike/run course that used both the athletics track and the adjacent pathways for a new short event which was very well rated by all and which we plan to expand in 2013.  

On top of this the Authority has a paddling ergo machine, that is regularly taken to local schools, colleges, community groups and events to help raise awareness of paddlesport, and get more people participating in the sport.

 National Indoor Junior Rowing Championship
National Indoor Junior Rowing Championship

Athletics in Full Stride

The athletics season is in full stride at Lee Valley Athletics Centre after a busy winter. The venue is a centre of excellence for England Athletics and has the only full 200 metre indoor track in the South of England. The centre has a seating capacity of 500 and continues to attract a diverse programme of events, club and schools usage, disability groups and elite performance.

For 2011/12 these include:


  • Southern Counties Senior, veterans and junior age group championships, held over four weekends to cater for the number of entries across the age groups
  • Pan London Disability Competition
  • London Indoor Games for Seniors and Under 15s and Under 17s, again using two weekends to accommodate the entry size
  • Inter-City event where athletes are selected for teams based around eight of the country’s major cities, so a truly national standard event
  • Southern England Student Championships, where Universities and Colleges across Southern England compete in preparation for the British Universities Championships
  • British Masters (Veterans) Championships

These events are in addition to the ongoing schools events drawing on the regional catchment, and some highly popular open meetings organised by Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club where up to 1,000 entries are typically taken for a weekend event.    

The centre continues to be a hub for coach and officials’ development, which is typically focused on the autumn and winter months. There is a busy programme of England Athletics courses backed up by technical sessions for coaches and athletes organised by the Lea Valley Athletics Network.

For more information on Lee Valley Athletics Centre and the week by week calendar, please visit:



Sports talk July 2012


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