Bucks sport set for its ‘most momentous year ever’

The Winter Olympic torch and Carl Etholen (below)
The Winter Olympic torch and Carl Etholen (below)

This year promises to be the most momentous ever for sport in the county according to the chairman of the Bucks Legacy Board.

Carl Etholen says the people of Aylesbury Vale and beyond need to ‘hold on to their hats’ because 2014 is set to be a year that ‘could really cement Bucks’ place on the global sporting map’.

The main reason for Etholen’s enthusiasm is the lighting of the Paralympic Heritage Flame in a special ceremony, watched by a huge global TV audience, on March 1 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

The flame lighting is historic because it is the first time a part of the Paralympic torch relay has been held outside the host nation. The flame will be merged with eight others from the Russian federal states to light the cauldron in Sochi – the venue for the Winter Games – on March 5.

Ushering in the New Year brimming with excitement, Etholen said: “I believe this could be a catalyst for a whole host of other great events that will add to the county’s rich legacy because there is just so much going on in Bucks.

“There is a fantastic variety of international and top-quality sport on offer to spectators, such as rowing and triathlons at the Olympic and Paralympic venue at Dorney Lake; motor racing at Silverstone; and international cricket at Wormsley, the most picturesque ground in England.

“And of course you cannot leave out Premiership rugby from Wasps and league football from Wycombe Wanderers.

“There will also be a number of other great events coming up throughout the year.

“These include the World Junior (U23) Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium held by International Wheelchair the Amputee Sports Federation (August 2 to August 8) and will be the first time the Games have returned to the UK in the 10 years of their existence.”

But Etholen said sport in Bucks is not all just about being a spectator and is challenging people to make 2014 the year where they make the most of local facilities and take up a new sport or exercise more regularly.

“As well as lifting the profile of sport in the county in 2014, we also hope to set new standards in accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities, who can be inspired by the fact Bucks is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement,” he added.

For more information on what is happening in 2014 and how you can help visit the Bucks Legacy Board’s new website