Medway Council tonight unveils its strategy for delivering a long-term sporting legacy for the people of Medway.

The launch of En Route to Rio: Delivering Medway’s Sporting Legacy 2013-2016 is being staged to coincide with Medway’s largest mass participation sporting event – the Medway Mile.

In addition, two new flagship events inspired by the success of the Medway Mile have also been announced.

The Medway Big Splash is based around watersports, aquatics and water-based activity sessions as well as a mass community swim challenge.

The free weekend-long event will be staged for the first time on 18/19 January 2014 at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre.

The Saturday will be a fun day filled with activities, team sessions, tasters, workouts and family fun, culminating in a Family Splash session.

Sunday’s mass participation challenge will see the people of Medway trying to amass as many lengths as possible as part of the Medway Swim Challenge.

A 12-week community swimming lesson programme for adults will also be held for non-swimmers, with participants challenged to swim a length as part of the Big Splash weekend.

The Medway Big Ride will encourage the people of Medway to get on their bikes. It will feature a host of cycling initiatives culminating in a mass participation event to launch the Medway Festival of Sport in May 2014.

The Big Ride will embrace all forms of cycling, with free activities including mass rides, cycle training and lessons, displays and stunt shows, races around the Great Lines Heritage Park, have-a-go arenas and exhibitions by clubs, national governing bodies and cycling organisations.

There will also be a sportive cycling event for more enthusiastic riders and a new Cycle Medway event.

The En Route to Rio strategy is not just about mass participation. The new On Your Marks programme features a raft of community initiatives to encourage people of all ages to embrace sport and healthy lifestyles.

It also details the council’s continued commitment to school, club and community sport, coach, club and athlete development, the staging of major sports events, and improvements to sport and recreation facilities.

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “We in Medway have always been very keen to ensure that we used the marvel of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to create a real sporting legacy for local people.

“Therefore, while planning for the events that took place here during the London Games we also set about establishing a number of programmes designed to provide a range of opportunities in the years following 2012.

“Our plan combines the development of sporting facilities with a range of participation programmes to inspire people of all ages to get physically active. We also want to help talented young sports people to develop and succeed.

“The wonders of London 2012 may have passed, but our eyes are now firmly fixed on the road to Rio 2016.”

The En Route to Rio brochure is available to view at http://issuu.com/medwaycouncil/docs/sportinglegacy-rio

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