‘Kent needs last­ing legacy from Games’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SIGNING UP - by Paul Francis

County coun­cil launches its strat­egy to cap­i­talise on the 2012 Olympics

A DRIVE to get more young peo­ple to take up sport will be the cor­ner­stone of Kent’s ef­forts to en­sure a long-term legacy from the Lon­don Olympics in 2012.

Kent County Coun­cil for­mally launched its Olympic strat­egy on Mon­day, say­ing a key di­men­sion of its ef­forts to ben­e­fit from the Games would be a push to­wards a higher level of par­tic­i­pa­tion across all sports, par­tic­u­larly among school­child­ren.

The profile of com­pet­i­tive sport will be given a lift with the stag­ing of bi­en­nial Kent School Games in the run-up to 2012.

Dame Kelly Holmes, dou­ble gold medal win­ner at the Athens games, was the spe­cial guest at the launch at Pad­dock Wood’s Hop Farm.

Dame Kelly, the pa­tron of the Kent cam­paign, praised Kent for be­ing ahead of the game when it came to max­imis­ing the ben­e­fits from the Lon­don Olympics.

“Other coun­cils are start­ing to make a mark but Kent is one step ahead,” she said.

“We have so much tal­ent in Kent and it is a chance for us to make a dif­fer­ence, not just by tak­ing part but by leav­ing a legacy.”

Stephanie Holt, who is manag- ing the county coun­cil’s Olympic strat­egy, told an au­di­ence of coun­cil lead­ers, com­mu­nity and busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ath­letes from around the county that it was vi­tal we se­cure a last­ing legacy.

She said: “It is not about what hap­pens in the six weeks of the Games and if it is, we have not done our job very well. We have to look at how we use the Games as a cat­a­lyst for par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Kent was aiming to buck the trend of pre­vi­ous Olympics where there was lit­tle ev­i­dence that stag­ing the Games had led to in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion, she added.

KCC’s strat­egy es­ti­mates the games could boost tourism in the county to the tune of £324mil­lion be­tween 2008 and 2016.

Pic­ture: Grant Falvey pd1204563

Dame Kelly Holmes with the 1948 Olympic torch at the launch

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