New generation inspired by Olympics to try sport

Interest in dressage is growing.
Interest in dressage is growing.
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OLYMPIAN Geoff Capes is to move his throws academy to South Holland.

The news comes as the country celebrates the success of London 2012 and Team GB – and a new generation of hopefuls are inspired to follow the medallists.

Among the athletes competing in the Games are a handful from Lincolnshire - Boston’s Georgie Twigg and Crista Cullen in Team GB’s hockey squad, Alford’s Glenn Kirkham, who once played for Long Sutton, earning a place in the men’s team and Lincoln’s Lizzie Simmonds only just missing out on a medal in the 200m backstroke.

But if you are wondering where South Holland’s rising stars are, according to Geoff the district is bursting with talent waiting for a world class coach to bring them through.

Geoff said: “When I set up the Lincolnshire Throws Academy it was on my own initiative and it’s been incredibly successful and bringing world class athletes through.

“I have always thought there has been a huge amount of talent in South Holland - pure stock from a farming region - but it takes one person to harness it.

“The reality is there hasn’t been enough facilities, funding, coaches, or extra curricular activities in schools - not to mention health and safety restrictions in setting things up.

“When I was coming through, PE teachers stayed after school without pay - that doesn’t seem to happen now.

“But I do think the Olympics will inspire more people to take part in sport – that’s what it’s really about, having a go.”

Talks about the academy’s move from Boston to the former youth club centre in Boston Road, Holbeach, in September were taking place with South Holland District Council’s deputy leader Nick Worth on Friday.

Elsewhere, summer activities linked to some of the Olympic sports have been bursting at the seams.

A new fascination in dressage has seen Summer Fun sessions packed.

Paula Leverton, of Four Winds Equestrian Centre in West Pinchbeck, has announced a new initiative to start in September called Take Back the Reigns.

She said: “It’s one of the legacies of the Olympics, developed by the British Equestrian Federation to encourage new and former riders to take up or get back into riding in a social atmosphere.

“We planned the Improve Your Dressage summer sessions before the Olympics but I am sure their success has been helped by the Games. There really is a lot of interest in the sport.”

Jade Jones’ success becoming British taekwondo’s first Olympic gold medallist has also given the local club a boost.

Instructor Tony Temple said: “I don’t think people realised girls can excel at this sport.

“I’m certainly looking at entering the club in competitions again.”

Simon Wright, of Spalding Cycling Club said: “We’ve certainly seen a couple of new faces. At the club we have some very strong youngsters coming through.”