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Olympians launch Kielder Marathon

Olympic gold medalist Steve Cram is launching the fourth Kielder Marathon in the region today.

The sports star will be joined by Olympic decathalon gold medal holder Daley Thompson.

Olympic decathalon gold medal holder Daley Thompson Credit: ITV News

The weekend of events set to take place at Kielder Water will be held in October and will also include a 10 kilometre run, bike races and junior races.

Torchbearer has wheelchair stolen in Newcastle

A teenager who carried the Olympic Torch and lit the cauldron on Tyneside ahead of the London 2012 games has had his wheelchair stolen.

15-year-old William Hardy from Newcastle William lost his legs to meningitis as a toddler and was the last torchbearer to carry the Olympic flame on its journey through the region.

William's wheelchair was taken from outside of a house in Jesmond at the weekend.


Aerobics event to boost fitness and continue Olympic legacy

People of all ages are being invited to flex their muscles at an aerobathon in Sunderland as part of a series of events to boost fitness and build on the legacy of the London Olympics.

A programme of events is being delivered by Sunderland City Council's Sport and Leisure department.

The first of these, the BIG Aerobathon, takes place on February 20 at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre in the city, with workouts for families, children and young people.

The main session for anyone aged over 14 will take place from 6pm to 9pm and includes five 30-minute workouts - aerobics, Zumba, hula fitness, dance aerobics and pilates/stretch - with experienced fitness instructors.

Participants can take part in as many as they want for £6.

"Building on the successes of the Sunderland in 2012 programme, this event promises to be bigger and better.

It aims to attract people of all ages and abilities to take part in fun physical activity that will inspire them to continue to exercise on a regular basis."

– Councillor John Kelly

Jarrow Pool opened by Paralympic Champion

Teenage swimming star Josef Craig has officially opened the new Jarrow Community Pool today.

The new 4 million pound facility, which is attached to Jarrow School, was unveiled by the Paralympic champion at a ceremony this morning.

Josef Craig was then first to take a dip in the million pound pool.

The 15-year-old, who is originally from the North East, was recently honoured with an MBE and the Young Sports Personality of the Year award.


Paralympic hero "honoured" by MBE award

Paralympic gold medallist Josef Craig has described 2012 as "the best year of my life".

The 15-year-old swimmer, from South Shields, is among those recognised in the New Year Honours list. He has been awarded an MBE for services to Paralympic Sport.

He said: "I'm really proud of everything that's happened and I feel really honoured that I've been part of such a big part of the year.

"An MBE is one of the greatest honours a person can be bestowed on them. For me to be even considered to have one, I feel utterly privileged and honoured."

Craig hit the headlines in the summer when he won Paralympic gold and broke the world record in the Men's 400 freestyle event at London 2012.

Judo club wins funding for Olympic demand

A fledgling judo club in County Durham has been given a cash grant to help it cope with an increase in demand following the Olympics.

Ouston Judo Club saw its membership jump from just six youngsters before London 2012, to 21 during August when the Games were held.

In September, a further eight young people from the village came forward wanting to join.

Now the club has received £700 from Cestria Community Housing, via the County Durham Community Foundation, to pay for 70 new judo mats.

"The Olympics had a hugely positive impact on sport in the UK, inspiring youngsters across the country to get fit and get active.

We witnessed the Olympic effect first hand with a massive spike in demand within weeks of the Games.

At first we found it difficult to cope with the increased numbers.

Now with this grant from Cestria we have been able to buy enough mats for everyone who wants to come along and give judo a try.

There's a real lack of things to do for young people in the village, so the club offers a fantastic outlet for them."

– Steve Makin, director of Judo at British Busen Judo Martial Arts Academy

The mats will help the club provide sporting opportunities for more young people in the village, which has suffered from problems including unemployment and youth crime.

Cestria made the donation through County Durham Community Foundation which brings together donors and good causes in the county.

"Ouston Judo Club is an impressive organisation which is doing great work in the village to help provide a positive and healthy activity for young people to participate in.

The increase in the number of young people wanting to join since the Olympics is really encouraging and we hope this grant will go some way to helping the club cope."

– Christine Scott, Cestria's head of corporate services
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