Hockey fun with an Olympic champion

An Olympic champion has joined more than 300 school children to host a day of hockey fun at a local leisure centre.

Alex Danson, who won gold at Rio 2016 as part of Team GB’s women’s hockey team, visited Watford Woodside Leisure Centre on Thursday (19th October) to inspire more primary school children to pick up a stick and give the game a try.

Everyone Active has teamed up with the sports star to introduce an innovative hockey programme in local schools and at its centres. The Alex Danson Hockey Academy aims to give more children the chance to get active by offering them access to fun, engaging training sessions led by expert coaches.

This event offered a unique opportunity for children from local schools, including Divine Saviour Primary, St Catherine of Siena Primary and Stanborough Primary to learn a number of skills and drills from Alex herself.

As well as impressing the youngsters with her gold medal, Alex joined in with the games and offered tips and advice on how to start a journey into sport.

She said: “I had a fantastic day in Watford. These children could be our future Olympians, and it was great to see how much they enjoyed getting active.

“I am delighted to have teamed up with Everyone Active to give more young people the opportunity to play hockey. Research shows the importance of engaging children in physical activity before the age of 11 to increase their chances of staying active into later life. The Academy is designed to do this, and I hope this event inspired the children to keep playing and give more sports a try.”

Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, joined a number of local dignitaries to watch the event. She said: “I’m so pleased that young people in our town had such a fantastic opportunity to try a new sport and learn from an Olympic gold medallist.

“I was delighted to attend the launch of the Alex Danson Hockey Academy and it was great to see so much enthusiasm from the hundreds of children who took part. The academy will be a fantastic addition to Watford’s excellent sports provision and I’d urge any young people who want to take up hockey to give the academy a try.”

The Alex Danson Hockey Academy has been designed by Alex and will be delivered by Everyone Active’s skilled coaches.

Everyone Active’s regional director, Duncan Jefford, added: “We firmly believe in the benefits of playing sport at a young age and want to offer as many opportunities as possible for people to get active.

“This was a fantastic event that gave children an insight into the fun they can have as part of the Alex Danson Hockey Academy. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with a world-class athlete, and something I hope they’ll remember for years to come.”

Everyone Active coaches will be delivering Hockey Academy holiday camps over the October half term at Watford Woodside Leisure Centre. For more information about the camps, email or call Watford Woodside Leisure Centre on 01923 892710.