Do different: Festival brings new sports to Norfolk this summer

Girls competing on the shooting stage of a Laser Run race

Laser Run tests multiple characteristics with the challenge of having stamina and speed for the run, along with focus and composure for the shoot - Credit: Pentathlon GB

When the exciting Festival of Sport returns to Norfolk this August, alongside well-known pursuits like rugby, football and golf, youngsters will be given the chance to try their hand at alternative activities. Here’s a round-up of some of the more unusual sports which will be on offer for the first time this year.  

Neil Danns coaching some children on skateboards

Coach Neil Danns believes that wheeled sports are a great way to foster confidence, self-esteem and resilience in young athletes - Credit: Wheels Extreme

Among the sporting experts gathering at the Holkham Estate from August 12 to 15 will be the champions behind Wheels Extreme, an award-winning wheeled sports coaching company that specialises in scooter, skateboard and inline skating.  
All of the sessions are delivered by a team of professionals who hold World, European and British titles.  
Neil Danns, former British Halfpipe Skateboard Champion, first witnessed skateboarders in action at a bus station aged 14. He promptly went home, built a skateboard from a plank of wood and his sister’s roller-boots and never looked back.  
“My main aim as an athlete mentor is to share with youngsters the ways in which I set goals, motivate myself and the experiences I have had travelling the world and competing in my sport,” says Neil. 
“I think it is also important to share the setbacks and the sacrifices I had to make to pursue my sport, as life isn’t always easy and I think a lot of kids today will identify with that.”   
He will be joined at Festival of Sport by inline skating champion Jenna Downing. A 10-time British Champion, she started competing at the age of seven and turned professional at the age of 12, making her the youngest female skater in the world to ever turn pro.  
To find out more about wheeled sports, go to 

A high school girls lacrosse athlete balances a yellow ball on the back of her stick

Lacrosse is really good for developing co-ordination, teamwork, communication and tactical and spatial awareness - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This team sport involves passing and catching a ball with a lacrosse stick. The aim is to score by getting the ball into your opponent’s goal.  
Lead coach Ash Gloster believes lacrosse is great for developing resilience, determination and sportsmanship. 
“Lacrosse is truly a sport that has something for everyone,” she says. “There’s the balance of skill, competitiveness, and teamwork which has always really appealed to me.  
“I love the athleticism involved as well. There’s also so much variety in the sport; you can specialise in one of the key areas on the pitch like goalie, defence or attack, or, as a midfielder, you can be involved in all aspects of the game.” 
Ash first played lacrosse at Cornell University in New York. After graduating, she moved to the UK to coach lacrosse and teach and discovered she was eligible to compete for the England women’s lacrosse team.  
She earned 50 caps for England, representing them in two World Championships and captaining the squad in 2017 where we earned the bronze medal and was awarded the ‘Heart of Lacrosse’ award. 
While Norfolk isn’t known as a hotspot for lacrosse, youngsters wanting to try it should reach out to England Lacrosse at or Pulse Lacrosse at, which can connect them with their nearest club, school or university, or help sort out the resources to start a new club. 

Jame Cooke in action in the Combined (run and shoot) phase of the Modern Pentathlon Men's Qualification round in 2015

Jamie Cooke in action in the Combined (run and shoot) phase of the Modern Pentathlon Men's Qualification round in 2015 - Credit: Pentathlon GB

Laser Run is the exhilarating finale to the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon, with athletes required to alternate between shooting a laser pistol and running in an action-packed race to the finish line. 
Laser Run can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities and offers a fantastic entry point to Modern Pentathlon’s other family of sports.  
World championship-winning pentathlete Jamie Cooke says: “Laser Run is a really fast and dynamic sport that all ages will love.  
“Having the physical challenge of the run combined with the skill and precision for the shooting is a real leveller and allows everyone to compete against themselves and each other.   
“There's also a fantastic community around the world competing in Laser Run tours and world championships.   
“With my modern pentathlon hat on, it’s also a great stepping stone into our wonderful sport.” 
To find out about how to get involved in Laser Run, to watch videos of the sport or join a local club, visit 

Tents at Festival of Sport

Tickets for Festival of Sport are on sale now - Credit: Festival of Sport

For the chance to try all of these sports and dozens more over a single weekend, Festival of Sport takes place at Holkham Park, from August 12-15, 2022. Tickets for the full weekend are on sale now, priced at £370 (one adult + one child aged 5-17 years). Additional adult tickets £160, additional child tickets £210. Under-5s go free. Tickets include access to the event and full programme of sports sessions for all children, plus entertainment on all three nights. Accommodation on site starts at £70 for three nights for a tent or campervan pitch, ready-erected bell tents from £250 (three nights, up to six sharing).