Olympians open ‘Battle of the Boroughs’ sport competition for over-55s
20 teams from across London and beyond represented their boroughs to compete against 500 over 55-year-olds at the 2019 Better Club Games; an Olympic-style event for older people, held at the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Thursday 19th September.
The annual event was run by the UK’s largest public leisure provider Better, the consumer facing brand of charitable social enterprise GLL. Now in its 14th year, the event aims to encourage older people to become more active and to highlight the social and physical benefits that sporting activities can offer to individuals of all ages.
Participants took part in eleven sports including walking football, walking netball, badminton, short tennis, table tennis, darts, short mat bowls, timed cycle, timed swim and dominoes.
Proudly representing their boroughs and districts the teams were drawn from across London and the South including: Barnet, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Epsom and Ewell, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Reigate and Banstead, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Rugby and Sutton.
The winning Greenwich team retained their 2018 title, with Epsom and Ewell taking runners-up spot and Sutton in third.
As the teams assembled at the site of the 2012 games – which included the timed swim event at the London Aquatics Centre, the competitors were joined by two Team GB Olympians, five-time Olympic swimmer, Mark Foster and sprinter-turned-bobsleigh athlete Montell Douglas.
Mark Foster said: “I think it’s an amazing event, it’s brought a lot of people together. Not only are these people getting fitter for themselves, but they’ve also got the social aspect, meeting people with a similar mindset and similar likes.
“I can see people having fun today, though it’s about the games itself, ultimately, when they’re back in their local boroughs and local centres, they all have their own social network.
“You can see that they’re enjoying what they’re doing, but they’re also a little bit fitter and if they’re moving, they feel better, look better and enjoy themselves.”
Mark Sesnan, Managing Director at GLL, said: “As GLL is the UK’s leading charitable leisure social enterprise we are proud to run the Better Club Games. This event allows us to celebrate the sporting talent amongst our older members, who regularly attend 55+ sessions at Better facilities across the country every week.
“In welcoming people to the 14th annual Better Club Games, we continue to demonstrate the benefits that regular physical activity and an active lifestyle can bring to both mental and physical health, whatever your age.”