Swimmer encourages kids to try sports

IAN CLARKE Former Olympic finalist Karen Pickering believes East Anglia will get “a real buzz” from the 2012 London games - and facilities in the region could be used by many visiting teams.

IAN CLARKE

Former Olympic finalist Karen Pickering believes East Anglia will get “a real buzz” from the 2012 London games - and facilities in the region could be used by many visiting teams.

The Ipswich swimmer - who won more major championship medals for Britain than any other woman - was special guest at a sports extravangza at Reepham High School on Saturday, where a wide range of activities were on offer for people to try from archery to martial arts.

Up to 500 people attended and Karen said she was “really impressed” with the number of sports available in a small community.

“Enjoying sport and having fun is so important and I would not have reached the level I did if I had not enjoyed it. We all need to stay healthy and keep fit.”

Karen - who once broke a world record swimming record in Norwich - believes the city's 50m pool as well as other facilities around East Anglia could be used for training camps ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

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“The area is only an hour from Stratford and we are right on the doorstep and I think we will get a real buzz here.”

She was also very enthusiastic about the 2012 logo, despite mounting criticism of the design.

“I love it,” was her simple view. “I have seen the whole presentation and how it can be used in so many ways. I think over the next few years people will see its potential and will realise how innovative it is.”

Sports extravaganza organiser Jan Munn said it was “fantastic” to have Karen along.

“It is not every day you meet someone who has been an Olympic champion. The thing that the kids said was that she was an ordinary person who managed to achieve success and that is really inspiring for young people.

“She is a brilliant role model and it was great that she came to little old Reepham!”

The action was interrupted by a summer shower but everyone showed true British grit and returned outside to carry on.

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