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PHOTO GALLERY: Olympic spirit inspires teams to local glory at Norfolk Village Games

Villagers from all over Norfolk take part in the Norfolk Village Games final held at the Sportspark.
Photo by Simon Finlay

Villagers from all over Norfolk take part in the Norfolk Village Games final held at the Sportspark. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

With the world’s elite athletes warming up for the Olympic Games, sporting rivalries and family bragging rights were settled at a more local scale during the finals of the Norfolk Village Games.

Today’s <Sunday> event at the UEA Sportspark brought together 28 teams, including almost 1,500 competitors, competing in a range of 11 track, field and team sports to bring home the gold medal for their community.

The anticipation of London 2012 had brought a record number of entries this year, with 14,000 people from 104 villages battling it out across the six district qualifying event before the grand final.

Overall victors in the large village category was Downham Market, with Terrington St Clement securing gold from the medium villages and Aslacton and Great Moulton topping the podium for the small villages.

The teams were given inspiration from two British Olympians who had arrived to cheer them on – badminton star Donna Kellogg and sprinter Craig Pickering.

Pickering, 25, who will miss the London games after undergoing surgery on a back problem, said: “We have the Olympics coming up, so it is important to get people involved as much as possible to keep things going forward afterwards. We don’t want it to be like everyone who enjoys the tennis for two weeks during the summer and then gives up.

“To have sports in a community-based group like this is going to be really important. The young people are doing it with their parents and they feel they have that support and it is more fun as well, which is killing two birds with one stone. It shows people that it is great to compete, but it does not have to be competitive – it can just be good fun.”

Ellen Vanlint, sports development project officer for organisers Active Norfolk, said: “Two weeks before the real thing, this is Norfolk’s Olympics.

“The ethos is all about community activity. We have had people of all ages, from six-year-olds sprinting to 80-year-olds playing bowls. There is something for everyone, regardless of their ability or fitness.

“It has been very competitive, and there has been a lot of rivalry between villages. But there have also been some neighbouring villages grouping together to form a team, which shows that this is bringing communities together as well.”

FULL RESULTS:

Small villages:

1st: Aslacton and Great Moulton, 80 points

2nd: Docking, 74 points on countback

3rd: The Forncetts, 74 points

Medium Villages:

1st: Terrington St Clements, 86 points

2nd: North Wooton and Castle Rising, 74 points on countback

3rd: Mulbarton and Swardeston, 74 points

Large Villages:

1st: Downham Market, 92 points

2nd: Hethersett and the Meltons, 84 points

3rd: Gorleston, 74 points

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