WITH the Olympics in full swing, Coate Water was transformed into its very own sporting venue at the weekend.

Beach volleyball, sailing, badminton, canoeing and angling were just some of the events taking place on Saturday.

And everyone, regardless of their age and ability, was invited to take part.

The event was made possible after the Swindon Angling Development Group received a grant from Swindon Council which helped to cover the costs of the facilities.

SADG chairman Keith Whitefoot said he was delighted with the turn-out.

“Because of the Olympics, we thought we would coincide the fishing with lots of other sports as well, and the aim of it was to invite people to come and try something a bit different,” he said.

“With the fishing we get people of all ages from kids as young as four, to their grandparents in their 70s and 80s. “And it is not just men, we get a lot of girls as well.

“It originally started as part of National Fishing Month and we have expanded it from there.

“I think the Olympics does encourage people to try new sports but often people will try it for one day and enjoy it, but they don’t take it any further. “Our aim is to catch the youngsters who want to keep it going longer than the one day.”

Mark Jennings, the compliance officer for Swindon Council, also helped organise the event at Coate Water, which currently holds the county record for carp, at 49Ibs 12oz.

Mark, who first tried his hand at fishing when he was just six while on the banks of the River Medway, said: “With fishing, you’ve got various different skills, you are at one with nature.

“And there are no barriers, whether you are male, female, able bodied or disabled, it is for everyone.”

Derek Gray, 57, of Cricklade , said: “I used to fish when I was younger and enjoyed it so it’s nice to see youngsters getting involved.”