THOUSANDS of young children from across London got to sample handball in the One Movement event at the Olympic Handball Arena last week.
More than 1,500 youngsters took part in different sports in the venue in an event designed to capture their imaginations, but handball proved to be the biggest hit of the day.
“This was the best and biggest event so far,” said London Handball Development Officer Ari Bekker. “Seeing hundreds of young people enjoying themselves and playing the greatest sport on earth was great! I have never seen so many kids in different age groups playing handball at the same time, and having the time of their lives at an Olympic venue just three months before the Games.”
And Chris Anderson from Pro Active East London added: “The sessions were a huge success with the area completely filled with young people throughout the day and we had to extend the area available as the sessions were so popular with the young people and even this area was constantly used.
The mix of sessions from skill drills, shooting practice using the Olympic handball goal, and small sided games worked fantastically well and kept the participants engaged throughout the day with many participants returning to the handball sessions again and again.
“The volunteers running the sessions ensured everyone was able to participate in a safe environment and were excellent at engaging the young people and ensuring no-one was unable to participate.
“The handball sessions were excellent and the sight of the Handball Arena floor being used for handball by so many young people was fantastic to see.”
Nicole Napier, the London Borough of Newham’s Sports and Activity Team Leader, added: “This was a great event which allowed 500 of Newham's young people to access an Olympic venue for the first time. A number of activities took place throughout the afternoon but one of the most popular activities was handball. Ari Bekker provided taster sessions in handball allowing young people to experience handball for the very first time in some cases.”
And EHA National Club Officer Tom Smith said: “The EHA South Development Staff in partnership with volunteers from local club Newham Flames enjoyed what can only be described as the greatest day so far for legacy in East London with over 100 young people.
“It was an absolute joy seeing so many engrossed in the sport, they loved every minute of the day and their enthusiasm for the sport showed why it is so accessible even if you have never played the game and no matter your past sporting ability or gender - it suits everyone.
"This was a massive and probably once in a life time opportunity for these young people to set foot in the Olympic Park venue. Amazing!”