Opinion: ‘Keeping the sporting momentum up’

Barry Warne, co-press officer of the Peterborough Green Party, writes...

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 5:42 pm
Great Britain's Sky Brown celebrates winning the bronze medal during the Women's Park Final at Ariake Sports Park on the twelfth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

The Tokyo Olympics were a rip-roaring success, and resulted in adults falling in love with sports which have thrilled youngsters for years.

Skateboarding and BMX cycling captivated huge audiences, and the good news is that both sports are amongst the most accessible and least costly for Peterborough youngsters to participate in.

The scintillating performance from Sky Brown, as she won skateboard bronze at the age of just 13 won’t be easy to forget.

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Marvellous though it was to see Brown adding to Great Britain’s impressive tally of medals, it was heartening to witness the enjoyment that the youthful participants gained from the excellence of their fellow competitors. It looked to be all about the thrill of seeing their friends excel at the sport they love, with the winning of individual medals being a particularly sweet icing on the cake and not the be all and end all of the contest.

Peterborough has skateparks dotted all over the city, with Horseshoe Park in Orton Goldhay and the Hampton, Eye and Whittlesey parks amongst the most popular.

Stanground and Yaxley skateparks each boast a spine (which effectively is two quarter pipes back to back with a metal rail in the middle), and Stanground also has high ramps.

There is talk of a new indoor facility opening in Bretton either late this year or in early 2022.

BMX biking is another accessible sport at which youngsters excelled during the Olympic Games. As with skateboarding, the camaraderie amongst the competitors from across the globe was plain to see.

Orton Malborne boasts an established public track, at which Peterborough BMX club meet for their weekly training sessions.

Climbing proved a popular addition to the Olympic Games. With planning permission granted for an Olympic-size climbing wall in Ferry Meadows, budding young champions can look forward to having top quality facilities at their disposal.

Peterborough boasts several gymnastics clubs. Former Olympic gold medallist Louis Smith, who took his first steps into the sport in Peterborough, still serves as an inspiration for young gymnasts across the city. Many primary schools offer an inexpensive gateway into the sport through after-school clubs.

Mainstream sports such as swimming, athletics and cycling offer all sorts of opportunities to Peterborough youngsters. The hugely successful Peterborough

Swimming Club is rated amongst the top ten clubs in the country.

Peterborough boasts a well appointed athletics arena, with Peterborough and Nene Valley AC offering high standard coaching at the Embankment track on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The club competes in both local and national competitions, with young athletes of all standards well catered for. Homegrown shot putter Lydia Church will travel to Tokyo shortly to take part in the Paralympics.

There are good opportunities for budding road cyclists, with Peterborough Cycling Club amongst a number of active clubs in the area. Competitive cycling has been staged in Peterborough for nearly 150 years, with the club being in existence since 1874.

With all the top-drawer sporting facilities on offer in Peterborough, perhaps the icing on the cake would be a cycling velodrome. Something for the council to ponder in the future?