Dartford sporting figures look at Olympic legacy to mark Games' one year anniversary
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 July 2013
One year since the Olympics, we talked to some of those involved in Dartford to find out their views on the Games legacy.
Dartford Harriers president Tony Durey says the club has its highest membership for 25 years – and thinks the Olympics has played a big part in that.
“From April 2012 to April 2013 our membership went from 360 to 700, and a lot of the new people getting involved were youngsters too.
“They’re the ones who might be the champions of the future and I think people were inspired by the Olympics. Then the key is to keep people interested and involved and make sure it’s not just a fad.
“Soon we’re going to get to the point where we’re turning people away because we haven’t got enough coaches to cater for everyone.
“The fact that Adam Gemili’s local can’t have done any harm. He trained with us as a kid and comes down to the club every now and again, which is great for the youngsters.
“We have some promising youngsters who we have big hopes for. One of them is David Hall, a decathlete who is ranked top in his age group, under 17s, in the country.
“Hopefully he and some others get to Rio and do the club proud.”
Judoka Ben Quilter, 31, won a Paralympic bronze medal at London 2012 in the under 60kg category and has been training at Dartford Judo Club since 2008.
“On a personal level the last year has been very frustrating but I’ve got great memories of the Olympics.
“Weeks before the Games I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament. Only painkilling injections got me through the tournament so I’ve only just got back into competing in the last few weeks.
“Judo was one of the successes of the Games with people like myself, Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant all winning medals, and I really hope we can sustain that.
“I think participation figures are up. I understand the performance institute is going to be moving from Dartford to Walsall in the Midlands, which is a real shame because it’s a fantastic facility.
“But that’s part and parcel of doing a sport like judo. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life traipsing around the country for the sport and I’m not sure if I’ll do it again.
“There’s a lot more enthusiasm and motivation surrounding the sport, especially at club level, and we have to make sure we carry the momentum on so we have success in Rio and going forward.”