Lambeth primary school pupils put London 2012 Organising Committee Chair Seb Coe through his sporting paces this morning when they tried out the facilities at a new multi-million pound leisure centre in Clapham.
He was special guest at the brand new state-of-the-art Clapham Leisure Centre, which is due to open to the public early next year.
Seb Coe joined pupils from nearby Clapham Manor Primary School in becoming the first people to try out some of new facilities, which include a new multi-use four court sports hall, 100 station fitness gym, a six lane 25m swimming pool and teaching pool and dance, yoga and martial arts studios.
The Leisure Centre, on Clapham Manor Street, is being redeveloped by Lambeth Council at no cost to the tax payer as the construction costs have been met by the developer. It forms part of a major new multi-award winning regeneration scheme that is also seeing a new library, healthcare centre, a café, and 199 homes developed nearby on Clapham High Street. Both are due to open in the New Year.
Lambeth Council is passionate about making sure everyone in the borough benefits from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is putting together a packed programme of events over the coming months to help everyone be part of the Games. The visit allowed Seb Coe to hear first hand from Cllr Florence Nosegbe, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Culture, how the borough is preparing and making sure all the borough’s residents can feel part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.
She said: “It was tremendously exciting to be able to welcome Seb Coe and local school pupils to get a taste of the new Clapham Leisure Centre. The facilities look fantastic and it was great to see them being used by an Olympic legend, and who knows, maybe some young Olympic stars of the future.
“I can’t wait to see the centre open its doors to the public for real next year.
“There is real excitement already in Lambeth about next year’s Games and this is only going to increase as the clock ticks towards the day they begin. We’re passionate about making sure everyone feels part of what is going to be a once in a lifetime celebration, and the new sports facilities we are building will create a genuine Olympic legacy in Lambeth.
“These are really exciting times for leisure in Lambeth – as well as the new Clapham Leisure Centre opening next year, construction work has begun on the new ice rink, pool and leisure centre in Streatham, we’ve recently invested fantastic floodlit tennis courts on Clapham Common and we are also building a new skatepark. This investment all adds up to the biggest expansion of provision in the borough’s history and a fantastic sporting legacy for Lambeth for the 2012 Games.”
After getting a guided tour of the new centre, Seb Coe joined pupils in a series of special sports sessions run by Lambeth Council’s community sports coaches, including basketball, athletics and boxing.
Seb Coe said afterwards: “I was delighted to be able to visit the Clapham Leisure Centre this morning and see the fantastic facilities that will soon be available to Lambeth residents. It was also great to see how young people from the Lambeth area are inspired by and benefiting from the London 2012 Games as well as witness first hand the legacy the Games are helping to bring to this part of London.”
He then took part in a question and answer session with young people asking him a range of questions about what inspired him to Olympic gold, what he sees as his greatest achievement and what makes him most excited about next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also met members of Lambeth’s successful sailing team who beat off the competition to win the sailing title at this year’s London Youth Games, as well as sports coaches from Lambeth Council and GLL, who will staff the new centre when it opens next year.