Get Active: Dagenham sports festival boosts fitness push

PUBLISHED: 10:08 08 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:09 08 September 2015

Wheelchair basketball was among the activities on offer at the festival

Wheelchair basketball was among the activities on offer at the festival


More than 300 people packed into Jim Peters Stadium for a two-day sport festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Sports enthusiasts aged from two to 80 cycled, karate kicked and boxed back inactivity on Saturday before a day of triathlons on Sunday.

Leading by example was Andy Knight, the council’s group manager for physical activity, who said it was amazing to finish his first triathlon.

“It was such an amazing feeling to take part and finish my first ever triathlon,” he said. “I have done a lot of running and cycling events previously but had never entered a triathlon due to not being able to swim very well.

“Six weeks ago I could barely swim a length of the swimming pool but thanks to the support of Richard Nicholas, a swimming and aqua aerobics instructor at Abbey Leisure Centre, I swam the 30 lengths that were required nonstop in 26 minutes.

“I was not alone in taking part in my first triathlon as there was a number of people of all ages giving it a go for the very first time too which was brilliant to see.”

Among those tackling triathlons alongside Andy were Mark Billyard, who was the overall male winner of the sprint triathlon and Jennie Page, who was the overall female winnder in the sprint triathlon.

Michelle Sinclair, centre manager for Abbey Leisure Centre said she felt proud to have come second in the sprint triathlon in the female veterans category.

“Five years ago after having my son I started taking part in triathlons,” she said. “This year I entered the Barking and Dagenham triathlon and felt a real sense of pride.

“The event was well-organised and I came second in the female veterans category, which shows that at the age of 41 it is never too late to take part and get active.”

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