It is only 12 months to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and as the countdown begins Manchester will embrace the Olympic ideal of ‘taking part’ with a programme of events for the local community.
Sunday 24 July will see many Manchester City Council owned facilities opened to the public for a range of free sports sessions. Activities will include Zumba classes, swimming, squash, badminton, five-a-side football, tennis and gym inductions. For full details of activities and participating leisure centres please visit, http://www.manchestersportandleisure.org/ or contact your local leisure centre.
Also on 24 July Manchester's Sports Club Conference will take place at the Etihad Stadium. The conference is designed to help local sports clubs develop and will consist of a range of free workshops and courses.
Manchester is, of course, the home of British Cycling and Saturday 6 April will see the new National Indoor BMX Centre open its doors, allowing the public in from 10am-4pm to check out the new facilities, tour the venue and book sessions before the venue officially opens on Monday 8 August.
Continuing the cycling theme, Sunday 7 August will see the city full of cyclist and free of traffic as the Sky Ride takes place. Last year saw 20,000 people hop on their bikes for the ride and this year's event is set to be even bigger.
To find out more information or to register for the Sky Ride please visit, www.goskyride.com/Manchester
Manchester will play a major role in the build up to the 2012 Games. The city's world-class facilities will host training camps for some of the world's best athletes. The USA Women's and Men's basketball teams, the Australian swim team, the Thai football squad and the Brazilian Paralympic team will all be based in the city as they prepare for the games.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, executive member for culture and leisure, said, "Next year will see an enormous focus on sport and I am proud that Manchester will be so heavily involved with the 2012 Games.
"The Commonwealth Games showed Manchester was a truly international sporting city, since then we have continued to build on the Games' legacy and it is fantastic to see that recognised by the Olympic and Paralympic teams that have chosen to base their training camps here.
"Sport is not just for elite athletes, and hopefully the Olympics will inspire local residents to be more active and take advantage of the world-class facilities on their door step. In the run up to the Olympic we are running a selection of activities to encourage people to get involved regardless of their age or ability."
For more information please visit: www.manchester.gov.uk