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Olympic fans ‘Have-a-Go’ at their favorite sports in London parks

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LONDON – Fans visiting Hyde and Victoria Parks during the Olympics can not only watch their games of choice on the parks’ giant screens but also “Have-A-Go” at their favorite sports.

As part of BT London Live viewing sites, which offer live coverage of the games to the general public, the “Have-A-Go Sports” activities cater to fans of all ages and abilities, giving them the opportunity to experience the thrill of their sports of choice.

“It’s really good fun, isn’t it,” said 25-year-old Karlene Cain. “It’s a way to get everyone involved and it’s just nice to see everybody having fun really.”

Cain, visiting London with her boyfriend from the English Midlands, stumbled across the pop-up netball court in Hyde Park.

“I used to play at school, and I loved it. It was my favorite sport at school,” Cain said. “I haven’t played for a while.”

Badminton, tennis, volleyball and wheelchair basketball are among the sports offered at the sites at no cost to visitors. In addition, athletes from Great Britain’s professional teams are on hand to teach younger participants the rules and skills pertaining to their sports.

“We brought down the pop-up netball court just to shed more light onto netball, put our faces out there to a different crowd, but also to get people back into netball who used to play but don’t anymore.” said England netballer Stacey Francis. “It’s nice to teach children who are really excited and want to learn and catch on to something they’ve never done before.”

The athletes were not only on hand to act as instructors but met with and signed autographs for fans after each round of games.

“I imagine, if I was 5 and was in a park and I got to meet somebody who plays for our country, it would be quite an exciting experience,” Francis said.

Games are rotated alternately for children and adults. Each park offers up to four different sports every day running through Saturday, Aug. 11, at Hyde Park and Sunday, Aug. 12, at Victoria Park.