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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Ambleside Sports festival

A TRADITIONAL sports festival captured the spirit of the Olympics.

Ambleside Sports fell on the eve of the London 2012 opening ceremony and did its bit to build excitement ahead of the Games.

Rydal Park staged its own opening ceremony yesterday with a flame and a parade of athletes.

Those competing included youngsters with Olympic ambitions and the father of a Team GB Olympic cyclist and gold medal winner.

Ambleside Sports’ Olympic legacy is a scholarship scheme to encourage young people to get involved in sports. Juniors from Ambleside Runners received new kits, Grasmere CE Primary School got support for its wrestling academy and Ambleside Cricket Club received funding for junior equipment.

The crowds turned out to watch the fell races, track cycling and running, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling and hound trailing.

Ricky Lightfoot won the Heart of the Lakes Rydal Round nine mile fell race for a second year.

Mr Lightfoot, 27, of Maryport, said: “I feel good, I really enjoyed it.

“The race was nip and tuck all the way. It’s good to support local events.”

Robert Porter, seven, of Ambleside Runners juniors, said: “It was a good race.

“I’m excited about the football, running and the cycling at the Olympics.”

Sam Ross, 15, of Beacon Wheelers, won a 500m cycling race.

The Penrith teen, who got into the sport after seeing cycling ace Bradley Wiggins in the 2007 Tour de France, said: “It’s a great event with a good crowd. I think Team GB will do well at the Olympics.”

Max Pendleton, father of Olympic cycling champion, Victoria Pendleton, has supported Ambleside Sports since the late 1960s.

Asked about his daughter’s Olympic bid, he said: “The preparation is going right, she’s been doing personal bests in training. She’s in a good place.”

Jak Hirst, Ambleside Sports chairman, said: “In our Olympic-style opening ceremony we acknowledged our Ambleside sporting heroes.

“It’s a traditional event, and a community event. There’s a great atmosphere and the setting just impresses you.”

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