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Kids go for gold' at East End's own Paralympic handover

PUBLISHED: 16:04 19 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:38 05 October 2010

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THE countdown to the London 2012 Paralympic Games has begun with kids in London's East End celebrating at their own handover. Around 100 disabled kids watched the event live on a big screen at East London's Mile End leisure centre, just two miles from the 2012 Olympics site. They were also entertained by the Theatre Venture group making a splash' with a performance in the swimming pool depicting the spirit of sportsmanship, including a wheelchair trying to race in the water!

ABOVE: Members of the Theatre Venture group making a splash’ with a swimming pool performance

BELOW: Young cyclists (left-to-right) Banu Gurlek, 12, Arman Hussain, 10, and Sheikh Sheikh, 13, and holding the torch is Shueb Rahman, 8

THE countdown to the London 2012 Paralympic Games has begun with kids in London’s East End celebrating at their own handover.

The Games were officially handed over from Beijing to London in the Chinese capital on Wednesday (September 17), following Team GB’s record-breaking medal haul.

Watching the event live on a big screen were 100 schoolchildren with disabilities or special needs gathered at East London’s Mile End leisure centre, just two miles down the road from the 2012 Olympics site at Stratford.

They were also entertained by members of the Theatre Venture group literally made a splash’ with a performance in the swimming pool depicting the spirit of sportsmanship and events from the Olympics. It included a wheelchair trying to race in the water—much to the children’s delight.

The leisure centre in Burdett Road is one of a host of venues providing disabled sports training.

The event organised by Tower Hamlets council gave them the chance to try some of the sports that will be part of the London 2012 Paralympics.

These included sitting’ volleyball, judo, athletics and wheelchair racing, with expert coaching.

“It was great seeing so many children at the centre,” said Clair Hawkins, the Town Hall’s children’s services cabinet member.

“It shows our youngsters want to get active and are already excited about the Games coming to Stratford in 2012.”

Budding wheelchair athletes even got the chance to practice with the London Raiders, the top wheelchair basketball side who also train at Mile End.

The youngsters can now continue at clubs and maybe even work towards representing Britain in four years’ time.

They were also given a taste of the history of the Games, with the torch used to light the Flame at the 1948 London Olympics on show, posing for pictures before watching the moment Beijing handed over to London live.

Tower Hamlets is one of the five East London Olympic host’ boroughs, along with Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Greenwich on the other side of the Thames.

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