Lee Valley White Water Centre – the only brand new London 2012 venue the public can use and enjoy ahead of the Games – opens tomorrow (Friday 22 April).
Saracens rugby club players were some of the first to take to the water before the Centre opened to the public at their launch event on Tuesday (19 April) with thousands of people having already booked their slots for adrenalin charged white water rafting this summer. Tickets are available from clicking the button opposite or by calling 08456 770 606.
The opening of this world class venue is a major milestone in the London 2012 programme and will allow visitors to raft the very same white water rapids which the world’s best athletes will tackle in 2012 when Lee Valley White Water Centre will host five days of thrilling canoe slalom competition in front of 60,000 spectators.
Also rafting at the launch event was a group of former and current footballers, rowers, sprinters, Paralympic cyclists and swimmers watched by the London 2012 mascots.
Derrick Ashley, Chairman of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which will run the Centre, said: “Lee Valley White Water Centre is quite simply the best of its type anywhere in the world. Thousands of people have already booked their day out - from big companies booking unforgettable corporate team building days, to international canoe teams, aspiring athletes, community groups and young people. We’ve also booked in – for free – more than 2000 school children from every London borough for a schools festival in June, underlining our commitment to legacy.
“Winning the 2015 Canoe Slalom world championships last Friday is the icing on the cake.”
Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “Seeing the Lee Valley White Water Centre open to the public is a great example of an early legacy for London 2012. This venue provides the opportunity for a new generation of water sports enthusiasts to get active and engaged in fun and challenging sports as well as providing us with a world class Olympic venue for Canoe Slalom.”
Albert Woods, President of the British Canoe Union, said: “This venue is the best Centre of its type anywhere in the world, it has guaranteed white water with two separate courses creating a brand new attraction and allowing canoe slalom to develop into a major league sport in this country. Lee Valley White Water Centre gives people across the UK a chance to experience first hand what the sports of canoeing, kayaking and rafting have to offer. This world class venue is an incredible achievement for the canoeing fraternity and we are delighted to be hosting major competitions here and onsite training at the Centre for what will be the most exciting Olympics yet.”
David Florence, Beijing Olympic Canoe Slalom silver medallist said: “The excitement and anticipation is building every day not just for the launch of this fantastic venue but for the countdown to the 2012 Olympics. Lee Valley White Water Centre has allowed us to start improving the training we have been doing and we are now seeing the results of our hard work. It’s a fantastic facility and not only just for the elite athletes, but many young athletes, providing another opportunity for developing future stars.”
Lee Valley Regional Park’s sports development programme will see schools, community groups and sports clubs from across the region enjoy access to the venue, alongside the sport’s leading athletes.
In June and July school children from boroughs and districts throughout London, Hertfordshire and Essex will experience white water rafting as part of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s schools festival.
In 2015 Lee Valley White Water Centre will host the Canoe Slalom World Championships. In a tightly fought contest, the British Canoe Union managed to prevail over a strong bid from the French Canoe Federation, bringing the Championships back to British waters for the first time in 20 years.