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Olympic dreams of our New Forest stars
4:24pm Saturday 26th May 2012 in News
THEY are the local heroes who will soon be competing at the biggest sporting event on earth.
And in celebration of their huge achievement, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the New Forest’s elite and up-and-coming athletes has been launched.
The striking series of images captures each of them practising their sport in the ancient woodland landscape.
Among those featured are Lymington’s triple Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie, GB wheelchair rugby team member Aaron Phipps from Totton, Brockenhurst-based Commonwealth silver medallist gymnast Laura Edwards, GB Volleyball player Nichola Osborne from New Milton and Sway’s GB handball team member Dan McMillan.
The photos by Robert Nemeti were taken in iconic New Forest settings including Palace House at Beaulieu, Buckler’s Hard, Hatchet Pond and the Rhinefield Aboretum.
The aim behind the project is to showcase the beautiful landscape, encourage people to back their local heroes and inspire people of all ages to get involved in sport.
Launched by the New Forest National Park Authority and New Forest District Council, the exhibition is touring venues around the district until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in September.
“For local residents to watch these athletes at the biggest sporting event on earth and realise that you can come from the New Forest, start at one of our many great clubs and make it all the way to the top should be an inspiration to get involved,” said leader of New Forest District Council, Cllr Barry Rickman.
“This exhibition also profiles some of our rising stars who are aspiring to reach the heights of those Olympic athletes.
The legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be our world class athletes inspiring others from their local communities to get involved, to take up activity and realising that if you have the talent and determination you too could achieve your dreams.”
Alison Barnes, New Forest National Park chief executive, added: “The New Forest was created for sport by William the Conqueror over 900 years ago as his hunting ground and has an impressive sporting history. So it is fitting that the area is home to so many elite athletes hoping to compete on the world sporting stage at the London 2012 Olympics.”
With stories of their road to London 2012 in an accompanying booklet, the athletes have spoken about how they started out in their sport and their links to the New Forest.
For more details visit newforestnpa.gov.uk or newforest.gov.uk/london2012