Suffolk: Don’t let spirit of London 2012 die - Olympic legacy must go on

WITH London 2012 behind us, politicians and sports ambassadors are today focusing on how to harness the legacy of the Games.

Enthralled by the spectacle of the last two weeks, thousands of people from Suffolk visited the Olympic Park to watch events, while millions were entertained by the television coverage.

Today the battle is on to capture that enthusiasm and build on the feel-good factor.

In Suffolk our local authorities are already looking to capitalise on the sporting legacy, to inspire the next generation of the county’s Olympic athletes.

Ipswich Borough Council’s spokeswoman for leisure and culture, Bryony Rudkin, told the Star it is “vital” to maintain and encourage the interest generated in sport.

“We need to look at both the elite side of sport and getting people involved at a grass-roots level,” she said.

“From the elite point of view we are very fortunate to have the Tour of Britain starting from the Ipswich Waterfront this year – that should be a wonderful event to showcase what we have in the town.

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“When you are looking at the grass roots we have to look at ways of encouraging people to retain an interest in sport when they leave school – and at making it easier for adults to get back into sporting activities.

“It is also vital to make it easy for people to get back into sport – earlier this year we had a buggy-pushing event at Christchurch Park encouraging mums to get active again. That was great.”

Welcoming the news that Lord Sebastian Coe has been appointed the government’s Legacy Ambassador, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said the role will help ensure the nation’s sporting success is continued.

Pledging to ring fence government funding for Olympic sports in the run up to the Rio de Janerio Games, Prime Minister David Cameron announced yesterday that �125million a year will be dedicated in a bid to emulate the record medal haul achieved at London.

Mr Gummer said it is up to local authorities to ensure that grass- roots sports can now flourish.

“That is really something for councils to look at, but I am sure they will want to capitalise on the success of the last couple of weeks,” he added.

“There has been a real feel-good factor around the Olympics. I don’t know how long it will last – but it does show us that we can put on a great event and organise a world-class festival that we can be proud of.

“It shows that when we come out of the tough times the creativity of the British can shine again.”

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