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Fun and games in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Our intrepid reporter tries an array of free sporting activities at the Olympic Park

I’D always thought the options for keeping fit and active in London were limited to going for a run in the park, or spending a lot of money to join a gym.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park had a whole month of free activities lined up this summer, ranging from Brazilian capoeira to stand up paddle boarding.

When I first arrived at the park I felt like a real tourist, especially when we reached the beach with its golden sand and funfair rides. The well landscaped green spaces – complete with secluded wooden seats, shaded trees and beautiful plants – added to the unique atmosphere of the park.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have a go at either paddle boarding or canoeing thanks to our glorious British weather, as the morning’s rain had made water levels too high.

However, the downpour couldn’t stop me completely, and the first activity I took part in was beach volleyball (pictured above). My friend Simge and I joined a team each and started to play. Our instructor, Graham Bell, was very enthusiastic and patient with all the participants. In less than 20 minutes we had a grasp of the game, learning as we made some mistakes along the way. 

It was just a short walk to my next activity, boxing. This is perhaps the one sport I was most hesitant about trying because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. Well, I was wrong. My coach, Ebs Ayerm, made the session fun and easy to learn (pictured below). By the end, I was able to stand with my left foot in front and punch and learnt to always have a hand up in order to defend my face.

My final activity was a pop up mini-golf session coached by Helen Tang, who made the sport exciting by putting a challenge to Simge and I. We had to get the ball as close to the target as possible, with a point system awarded for touching different parts of a flag. We were also taught how to hold the golf club, with the proper stance to take a shot. 

Overall, I really enjoyed my day at the park and learnt skills that I don’t believe I would have picked up otherwise. The park was so much more impressive than I expected it to be, it was almost like a green ‘mini-city’. If you haven’t already visited, I suggest you do: it’s the perfect place for a family day out.

Click here for more info on what's on offer at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park each month.

By Dila Tumer