An exciting new London 2012 legacy venue with world class hockey and tennis facilities officially opened today at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Adapted from the London 2012 wheelchair tennis venue, the only purpose-built Paralympic venue, the £30 million centre now features striking blue tennis courts of the same standard as those used in the US Open and two floodlit, international competition standard hockey pitches with a stunning Union Jack design.
The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will be the venue for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, the ITF’s official year-end wheelchair tennis championship for the world’s top ranked singles players, in November of 2014, 2015 and 2016, with this year’s event to take place on 26-30 November.
British wheelchair tennis players Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker, women’s doubles bronze medallists at the London 2012 Paralympics, joined members of the England Hockey women's and men's teams to officially launch the new facility.
Shaun Dawson, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Chief Executive said: "Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre provides top class facilities for the next generation of hockey and tennis champions – the stars of tomorrow will be discovered here.
"Our programme puts these high quality courts and pitches within reach of players of all standards, from complete beginners to international athletes."
Members of the public will have their first chance to take part in both sports at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Saturday 21 June when the venue will host a free Family Fun Day.
The fun day is part of the Great British Tennis Weekend, which is supported by the Lawn Tennis Association and Tennis Foundation. Visitors can try Cardio Tennis, a great way to burn off excess calories, Mini Tennis, a national scheme to teach children core tennis skills and various forms of Disability Tennis. There will also be a chance to play Quicksticks, aimed at introducing hockey to seven to 11-year-olds, brought to visitors by England Hockey.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "This is great news for Londoners, which adds to the spectacular suite of world class sporting venues available for their use at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. From cycling and BMX, to swimming and diving, hockey and tennis and many other sports besides, this is an unrivalled set of facilities delivered thanks to London's Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Michael Downey, Lawn Tennis Association Chief Executive said: "Today is another great example of the important legacy left for sport by the London 2012 Games. British tennis is delighted to be working in partnership with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and England Hockey to deliver a world class facility that will not only host major sporting events, but also support the local community playing regular sport. We want more people in London playing tennis all year around, and this fantastic new venue will support this goal."
Sally Munday, England Hockey Chief Executive said: "We have an exciting few years ahead of us in terms of the major international events we're hosting at this stadium, and having a facility like this is a fantastic tool for us to engage the public with our sport and really stimulate some National pride in supporting England's hockey teams."
Geoff Newton, Tennis Foundation Executive Director said: "We are delighted to see the venue re-open and it will be a hugely important centre for the development of tennis in east London, particularly for the local community, as it provides much needed indoor, as well as outdoor, facilities.
"It will be a crucial Disability Tennis Network for the Tennis Foundation making tennis more inclusive to all, as well as staging inspirational world class events such as the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters."
Tennis courts cost from £5 an hour with a host of coaching, introductory and inclusive sessions available as well as special rates for children, schools and universities.
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will be a hub for disability tennis and a base for tennis community activity. Hockey clubs from the region will train and play matches on the pitches and there will also be introductory sessions for players new to the sport.
Visitors will be able to:
• play Rush Hockey and Quicksticks, adapted versions of the game aimed at getting more players into the sport for £4 per person
• enjoy hockey and tennis coaching sessions to improve their game
• play club hockey
• hire tennis courts from £5
• take part in community tennis programmes including Cardio, Mini and Disability Tennis
No matter what standard, there will be an opportunity to play hockey and tennis with a range of community, club and elite programmes available.
In addition, there will be a multitude of events throughout the year including an annual schools festival where school children from across the region can play for free as well as school holiday activities.
You can sign up in advance for tennis activities at the free family fun day which will run from 10:00 – 16:00 on Saturday 21 June or just turn up on the day and enjoy playing hockey and tennis.
Sign up to a free session on Saturday here.