DAVE Whelan has hailed the ‘amazing’ Olympic and Paralympic stars who have made the nation so proud this summer.
And the Latics chairman hopes the incredible success enjoyed by both Team GB and Paralympics GB will lead to future generations becoming far more involved in sport.
The British heroes from both Games were honoured yesterday at a special athletes’ parade in central London, with thousands lining the street to recognise their magnificent achievements And Whelan insists it’s imperative the powers-that-be ensure a real sporting legacy is maintained.
“What the Olympics and Paralympics should do is bring to everyone’s attention how important sport is,” he told the Evening Post.
“The importance of being fit, and keeping yourself fit, cannot be under-estimated.
“For a start you’ll live longer if you exercise –whether that’s running, walking or swimming.
“Exercise and sport is life itself, and I think that has come over so strongly as we’ve all watched the Olympics and the Paralympics.
“I’ve been as glued to the coverage as anyone – it’s been so exciting and we’ve done so well.
“The athletes have been amazing, and all the doubters – with folk questioning whether Great Britain could do this, all the political stupidness that went on, all the doubters – have been silenced.
“The crowds were absolutely unbelievable, and I’m sure every athlete would like to offer a big ‘thank-you’ to our nation. The support has been fantastic.”
Meanwhile, a number of Latics stars will take to the field again tonight on the international stage.
Shaun Maloney will be looking to join Gary Caldwell in the Scotland team for the visit of Macedonia, having watched Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Serbia from the subs’ bench.
Maynor Figueroa and Honduras will be hoping for their second victory over Cuba in the space of four days, having beaten them 3-0 in Havana last Friday.
Antolin Alcaraz and Paraguay face Venezuela in Asuncion, having lost 3-1 to Argentina in Cordoba over the weekend.
And there is an intriguing head-to-head tonight at Fulham, when James McCarthy and Ali Al Habsi will be in opposite corners as Ireland face Oman in a friendly international.