Create your own personal OLYMPIC LEGACY

 
Steve Dinneen
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Legacy is the buzzword du jour. Will the government be able to translate the success of the Olympic Games into future sporting prowess? Or, like the Australians, will we crumble into mediocrity? Will our legacy be greater social cohesion? Can we become a fitter, healthier, less obese nation?

These are all reasonable questions but they aren’t much good if you actually want to play some sport. Thankfully, London is packed with clubs offering beginners a chance to try their hand at whatever Olympic challenges they can think of. Whether watching the Games has whetted your appetite for fencing, archery or high diving, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

If you’re not already a serious athlete, it might be too late to compete in Rio but if you want to have some fun while you get fit, here are some tips on creating your own personal Olympic legacy.

FENCING
What do I need?

Beginners don’t really have to worry about supplying their own equipment as most clubs will have everything available for hire. A T-shirt and jogging bottoms should suffice.

How much will it cost?

While it may have a reputation for being somewhat elitist, fencing is actually very reasonable for beginners. Most clubs will offer a free taster session, while a 10 week course will set you back around £100.

Where can I do it?

The Central London Fencing Club at Greycoat Hospital School on Regency Street (centrallondonfencingclub.com) has world class coaches and welcomes beginners.

SHOOTING
What do I need?

Clubs will provide the gun and usually the cartridges, clay targets, protective eyewear and headphones. Headwear is recommended, with a cap being preferable. Additional earplugs are also needed for extra protection. Clothing should be comfortable and easy to move in. A padded jacket helps prevents any reverberation from the gun.

How much will it cost?

Membership costs vary depending on the club. For a one hour beginner’s lesson, expect to pay £50-£100, which will include all equipment. Free trial days are often granted to beginners.

Where can I do it?

For clay pigeon shooting, try the West London Shooting School in Middlesex (shootingschool.co.uk) or the A1 shooting club at Rowley Green (a1sg.co.uk).

ARCHERY
What do I need?

The beauty of archery is that you do not need a vast amount of equipment. For the beginner, only comfortable clothing is required as clubs provide all the other gear. There are two types of archery that one should be particularly aware of; target archery and field archery. For those city-based, target archery may be the more practical choice as this can be done inside or out with regulated distances and set targets.

How much will it cost?

Prices vary depending on the club. Beginner’s lessons can start from £20 for an hour and half, going up to £95 for the weekend. For those starting out, group lessons are preferable, often bought in bundles. Once you have reached a certain level of skill and accuracy, most wish to have private tuition, which inevitably costs considerably more.

Where can I do it?

2020 archery offers a range of times and days to take part in target archery, alternating between the downside centre in London Bridge and Southwark Academy school in Bermondsey (2020archery.co.uk).

For those wishing to take part in field archery, head to the London Archers Club. During the summer months tuition takes place at the Linford Christie stadium (londonarchers.com).

HIGH DIVING
What do I need?

A pair of trunks is advisable.

How much will it cost?

Ilford Diving Club offers lessons for as little as £5 for an hour and a half session. As clubs tend to book the entire pool, there is usually no additional entry fee.

Where can I do it?

There are clubs all over London, and most have access to diving boards. While only a handful have full 10m boards, if you’re a beginner you won’t be jumping off anything higher than 5m for a few months anyway. Log onto diving-gbdf.com for a full list of clubs.

TRACK CYCLING
What do I need?

Comfortable cycling clothes – preferably lycra. Clubs will rent out track bikes, specialist shoes and a helmet.

How much will it cost?

Surprisingly little. Tuition at the Manchester Velodrome costs from as little as £10.50 for an hour. Taster sessions are also available.

Where can I do it?

The London Velodrome, the scene of much of Team GB’s glory, is all booked up for the next few months. You can try Manchester, Newport or Calshot. Book early – track cycling is very, very popular.