Tuesday 26 September saw the long-awaited return of the ‘Better Club Games’ tournament at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Copper Box Arena. This annual event for the over-60s last ran in 2019 (before Covid).
This year, 19 teams took part from Better leisure partnerships across London, the south east, Lincolnshire and Rugby competing in a diverse range of activities - darts, dominoes, short tennis, short-mat bowls, swimming, badminton, table tennis, cycling, walking netball and walking football.
In a tightly fought contest, Greenwich were victorious in the table tennis, short-mat bowls and dominoes competitions, but ultimately it wasn’t quite enough to beat Epsom and Ewell to the top spot, with the London borough of Sutton finishing third.
The Games, made its official return a week earlier at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on 22 September with the walking sports competitions, with team Greenwich finishing 3rd in both the walking football and walking netball events.
GLL first decided to put on the Better Club Games back in 2006 when it realised there was no major multi-sports activity in the UK which brought older adults together annually in the spirit of fun competition.
The Better Club Games Ambassador was actress and radio presenter Vicki Michelle - of ‘Allo Allo’, EastEnders and Emmerdale fame. She added a touch of glamour and cheered on the participants.
‘Better’ is the brand name of the UK’s leading leisure charitable social enterprise GLL. The company’s ethos is to reinvest in local community health and wellbeing and the Better Club Games is a key part of this commitment.
GLL CEO Peter Bundey said: “It was great to see over 550 participants at the Copper Box Arena turn out to take part in this year’s return of the Better Club Games, compete and have fun.
“Wider society benefits in so many ways from active ageing and as a social enterprise we will continue to drive activity for this important age group.
“Congratulations to all those who took part and to our worthy winners – Epsom & Ewell.”
Greenwich’s team leader Sam Arnold said; '‘Its brilliant to have the Club Games back after four years, the team thoroughly enjoyed the day, it’s a shame we didn’t win, but I’m so proud of each and every one who took part.’’
Bernice Jeffers one of the participants from team Greenwich said;
“The atmosphere at the Copper Box Arena was really positive and upbeat. Teams looked out for each other as well as pushing their own to do well.
“Finishing as runners up is such fantastic achievement, we’re so proud to have had participants take part in every sport. Roll on next year!’’
The Better Club Games moves next to Belfast in the coming days where competitors from 16 clubs at the city’s leisure centres run by GLL, take part.