Olympian opens new Tower Hamlets community hockey pitch

Helen Richardson-Walsh and John Biggs

Helen Richardson-Walsh (kneeling centre left) and Mayor John Biggs (kneeling centre right) at the new Mile End hockey pitch Pic: Tower Hamlets Council)

Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh has launched a new community hockey pitch in Mile End Park

Richardson-Walsh, part of the celebrated women’s team who won Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, joined Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs to officially open the new pitch, which is open to all the community. After the ceremony, Walsh joined 120 schoolchildren from the borough for a coaching session.

Hockey has seen a 40% rise in young players since Team GB Women won Bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. Walsh hoped this pitch would continue the upward trend, saying part of her team’s vision was “to inspire a generation and see it in action”.

Walsh playing hockey

Helen Richardson-Walsh (left) taking part in a coaching session at the new Mile End pitch Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

The pitch is the latest in the Council’s long list of measures aimed at combatting obesity and inactivity in the community, following its signing of the Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food Charter in 2017.

At the opening, Mayor Biggs said: “It is very important that we continue to grow sports activity in the borough, and this is a great way to encourage hockey within Tower Hamlets.”

Tower Hamlets has significantly above average levels of obesity and inactivity. The proportion of residents claiming to never deliberately exercise is double the national rate, at one in five. The level of obesity is almost 50 per cent higher than the UK average.

Sedentary population proportions

Twenty per cent of people in Tower Hamlets never deliberately exercise, compared to 10 per cent of the UK. Source: Tower Hamlets Council/Bristol University


Obese population proportion

Thirty-three per cent of Tower Hamlets is obese, compared to 24 per cent of the UK. Source: Tower Hamlets Council/Bristol University

Councillor Abdul Mukit, Council Member for Culture and Youth, said he hoped the new facility would encourage all of Tower Hamlets to “take part in a wide variety of sport and physical activity programmes”.

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