Heart of region set to celebrate sporting heroes

Great Britain's Nicola Adams with her gold medal.
Great Britain's Nicola Adams with her gold medal.
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Their names will be remembered for years to come after helping Team GB secure its highest ever Olympic medal total.

And as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games drew to a close in the early hours this morning plans are now in place to welcome Yorkshire’s athletic heroes home in style.

Yorkshire's Alistair and Jonny Brownlee with their Gold and Silver medals for the Men's Triathlon at Fort Copacabana on the thirteenth day of the Rio Olympic Games. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Yorkshire's Alistair and Jonny Brownlee with their Gold and Silver medals for the Men's Triathlon at Fort Copacabana on the thirteenth day of the Rio Olympic Games. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

YP Comment: Celebrate the golden Games. Global triumph made in Britain

Leeds City Council chiefs have announced plans to host a homecoming celebration in the heart of the county – which it hopes to open up to celebrate all of the county’s champions.

Team GB took its Olympic medal haul to 66 – one better than the previous record at London in 2012 – as track runner Mo Farah raced to victory in the 5,000m and the women’s 4x400m relay team secured an emphatic bronze on Sunday.

Leeds’s very own Golden Girl boxer Nicola Adams rounded off Yorkshire’s impressive medal count with a history-making gold in the women’s flyweight final on Saturday.

Her delighted mother Dee Adams, who lives in Ebor Gardens, told The Yorkshire Post of her pride at seeing her daughter defend her title.

She said: “It does not seem real. We all knew that she could do it but watching her do it and knowing that her opponent wanted the title as much as she does was so hard.

“I still have not come down to earth. I am so happy. I must be one of the proudest mothers on the planet.”

Boxer Adams’s victory cemented the 33-year-old’s place in the record books as the nation’s first boxer to defend an Olympic title since Harry Mallin in 1924.

And she is now among Team GB’s gold medal-winners from the county, which includes triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, diver Jack Laugher, rower Andrew Triggs Hodge and cyclist Ed Clancy.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said he supported a homecoming celebration in Leeds for the whole region and he called on others to salute the athletes.

He said: “I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do, there was a celebration and parade in Leeds in 2012 and I think it’s important this is even more significant than that.

“We have got plenty of athletes from Yorkshire, in a team and individually, and there’s still the Paralympics to go.

“I think there will be a huge appetite, not just in Leeds, but across Yorkshire for people to come and salute the awesome achievements of their heroes.”

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake revealed the city was planning a large celebration for athletes in the region. The announcement came after the Government said an official Olympic homecoming parade would be held in Manchester, in addition to an event planned for London.

Coun Blake said: “Nicola is a truly outstanding role model and ambassador for the city of Leeds and this success is testament to her tremendous hard work, dedication and commitment to the sport of boxing.

“Team GB are having an amazing Olympics in Rio, and we are immensely proud that Leeds and Yorkshire are playing such a great part in this success.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said he was contacting other Yorkshire local authorities this week about co-ordinating a county-wide homecoming event in Leeds.

He said: “We’d love to make it a cross Yorkshire celebration but need to ask others first and see what their plans are. For people who have got ideas, or any businesses who would like to contribute, we would be happy to hear from them.”

Comment: Page 10; Olympic reports: Sports Monday.

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