CHAIRMAN of the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board Carl Etholen this week tells us why 2014 will be a year to remember for the county's sporting history, with a Paralympic Heritage Flame set to be lit before a global TV audience at Stoke Mandeville.
Hold on to your hats because 2014 is set to be one of the most momentous years in this county’s sporting history.
It is a year that could really cement Bucks’ place on the global sporting map. The principal reason for this is the lighting of the Paralympic Heritage Flame in a special ceremony, watched by a 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 on March 5.
But 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 Buckinghamshire.
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 & Amputee Sports Federation. This will run from 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 sport in Bucks is not all just about being a spectator. We would like to challenge people to make 2014 the year where they make the most of the great facilities in Bucks 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 Buckinghamshire is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
For more information on what is happening in 2014 and how you can help, please regularly check out our new website: www.buckslegacy.org Carl Etholen Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board