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Olympians help host sports taster sessions
Published 27/11/12

PEOPLE of all ages took part in a day of physical challenges at Henley leisure centre.

They tried different sports, including badminton, basketball, gymnastics, football, athletics and swimming, at the Be Inspired event, which was part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s campaign to bring communities together through sport and culture following the London Olympics.

Hendriette Thorn, the council’s participation co-ordinator, said: “Be Inspired is about making people aware of sports, physical activities and opportunities in the local community and here at the leisure centre.

“They can have a go at a sport that they’ve never tried before and perhaps enjoy it enough to join a sports course.

“It’s all to do with the legacy of the Olympics. We want people to be inspired to try sports and hopefully participate a bit more.”

Team GB rower Tom Wilkinson was among those who competed and said: “It was interesting to learn something new.”

Basketball players from Reading Rockets held sessions with students from The Henley College and international kayaking brothers Nico and Sam Kirschstein Smith, from Peppard, tried out different sports.

Nico, 19, said: “It was good fun and a bit different to our training regime. The Olympics were very inspiring.”

Olivia Higson, 11, from Sonning Common, tried basketball, football and athletics challenges with her sister Emilie, nine.

She said: “I liked the athletics and basketball. It was nice to play with the professionals and they taught me shooting techniques.”

Greenwich Leisure, which runs the centre, was part of the original group that backed the London 2012 bid. Jazz Holverson, general manager of the centre, said: “It was a really good day and we received positive feedback.

“The ultimate goal is for us to put on the courses we demonstrated. We don’t currently run them so it’s something I will be looking to introduce as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, showers at the leisure centre have been repaired after being out of action for four weeks.

Visitors had to have cold showers after two water tanks failed.

Mr Holverson said: “Unfortunately, what started out as a simple problem with a thermostat escalated into a severe problem with our entire water system. “We encountered a large limescale build-up in both our water tanks, resulting in one failing and the other not working to a sufficient load to supply the entire centre.

“Having repaired one tank fully we then encountered additional issues with the mains water supply due to a large calcium and limescale build-up throughout the water system.”

Mr Holverson apologised for the length of time it took to fix the system but said: “The result will be a much-improved system with a more powerful pump.” For more information, visit www.better.org.uk/leisure/henley

Published 27/11/12

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