"I Am Team GB” Event at Ricoh Arena hailed as a massive success

"I Am Team GB” Event at Ricoh Arena hailed as a massive success

More than 4,000 people helped bring the spirit of Rio to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday as part of the I Am Team GB event. Olympic legends – and a host of other sports stars – were joined by thousands of youngsters and volunteers to try out 17 different sports.

Rio 2016 Olympic Gold medal-winning sprint canoeist Liam Heath and partner Jon Schofield, along with London 2012 medal-winning gymnast Christian Thomas as well as stars of Wasps Rugby and Wasps Netball were in the Jaguar Hall to help celebrate the most successful Team GB Olympics since 1908.

The Ricoh Arena was handpicked as the only Midlands venue to host the event. The National Lottery and ITV collaborated on I Am Team GB , the UK's biggest ever sports day. Heath (32) won gold in the individual 200m kayak sprint event and the silver in the men's double with Schofield. That double haul made him most successful British canoeist at the Olympics ever, with an additional a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the K-2 200 with Schofield. He said the event, which included demonstrations in football, gymnastics, cricket, climbing wall tennis and wheels-for-all cycling, brought back memories of how he took up the sport. "It is amazing to see so many people here at the Ricoh Arena with so many youngsters having a go at different sports and it's been a great day," he said "I went to a taster session when I was young and that is what me got me into canoeing in the first place, so these sort of events are perfect getting kids engaged. "The interest since we returned from Rio has been phenomenal and hopefully it will inspire more people to take part in the sports which are being demonstrated today."

Dame Kelly Holmes, who won double gold at the Athens 2004 Olympics and a bronze in the 800m in Beijing in 2008, was back at the Ricoh Arena after performing the opening ceremony a decade ago. "It is great to be back and to see the Ricoh Arena really buzzing and thousands of people all coming out for I Am Team GB to celebrate the success of Rio and also try new sports. It has been a fantastic day," she said.

England and Wasps rugby hero James Haskell, as well as Wasps' Kearnan Myall were also at the event along with Tamsin Greenway, Mel Mansfield, Fran Williams, Josie Huckle, Sophie Candappa and George Fisher of Wasps Netball.

Andy Gibb, Managing Director of the Ricoh Arena, said the event had proved a huge draw for people across the region. "We have been delighted with the response from everyone – the sports stars, volunteers and all the people who turned out. To see so many people at the Ricoh Arena trying out different sports and rubbing shoulders with Olympic medalists really was inspiring”

"We are a venue for elite sports, and have had some really memorable events here, but this is up among the best." Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport at Coventry City Council, along with leader Councillor George Duggins and deputy leader Councillor Abdul Khan, tried his hand at several of the sports. "What a great day. A massive amount of work from everyone – many of them volunteers - went into putting on the I Am Team GB event and it was a great success," he said. "You could feel the energy at the Ricoh Arena, and to see so many young people wanting to try new sports and rubbing shoulders with their idols was fantastic. "And who knows, someone who tried a sport for the first time might end up with an Olympic medal around their neck in a few years time."

ITV switched off their transmission to all of their seven channels for an hour at 9.30am. Over £80 million has been raised each year by National Lottery players to help fund elite athletes during the four-year build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

– Entry was posted on September 1st, 2016 by James Haskell

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