Manchester celebrates Olympic legacy with return of sporting festival Wythenshawe Games

By Ben Southworth

The Wythenshawe Games are back by popular demand following their inaugural debut last year which attracted more than 10,000 residents.

The hugely successful week-long event was a community replica of the London 2012 Games celebrating sport and culture for people of all ages.

A year on and the Olympic legacy is still being felt with 92% of participants who worked for a personal best continuing with their sport and 36% of people doing their chosen sport or hobby three times a week since the games.

This year’s free event is being used as a way of maintaining health initiatives linked to sports sessions.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council, said: “Last year’s turnout was fabulous – it was a fun-filled fiesta of sport, which also helped with getting people fit.

“Last year’s health focus was on heart health, and we had the health bus in Wythenshawe Park for the whole event for drop-in blood pressure and cholesterol checks.”

The event was originally inspired by the experience of a Wythenshawe resident whose life was saved by visiting the health bus which detected a potentially fatal heart condition.

When Paul Whittaker, 45 from Wythenshawe, visited the health bus they were able to treat him for blocked veins around his heart as well as type two diabetes.

David Regan, Director of Public Health Manchester said: “Paul’s experience inspired the games organisers to think of a wider event which could help the whole community.”

The games are centred in Wythenshawe Park, although some events will also take place at the Forum and Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre from July 27 to August 3.

Nigel Wilson, Chief executive from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, said: “This whole project shows the power of the public sector working together to pool its expertise.

“We are leading a call for all Wythenshawe residents to come and take part again – no matter what their age or fitness levels.

“The message again is about fun and fitness- any sport that a resident takes up as part of the games will be available to them locally once the event is over, so that they can continue with their hobby.”

For more information about the Wythenshawe games visit

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