SPORTING chidren don’t like cricket, they love it, according to two of the sport’s stars on Weymouth beach.

Former England captain Mike Gatting and England women’s cricketer Caroline Atkins have been bowled over by the enthusiasm of families taking part.

They said Team GB’s fantastic medal tally has encouraged the young generation to strive for sporting success.

Mr Gatting said: “These Olympic Games have been fantastic.

“When you hear the sportsmen and women talking about their success, they talk about the team – what it means to the team.

“Team sport helps kids with a lot of things; self esteem, making friends.

“Team GB are really showing that together as a team you can do great things.”

This is exactly the type of initiative we need to re-ignite the urge to take up sport – both amongst young people and those who are older.”

Miss Atkins said: “There’s a real feeling of being proud to be British at the moment.”

She added that she was pleased to see so many women and girls taking part in the activities.

She said: “Sport doesn’t cost a lot of money, it’s giving them the chance to have a good time whatever is happening.”

The facility has so far attracted 5,000 people on average each day, with families from Cumbria, East Anglia and the North East taking part.

Mr Gatting said: “I have never been here before, but it’s lovely.

“I can’t believe how long the beach is – there’s sand everywhere.

“A bit of nice weather and you could be on Bondai Beach.”

Derek Steels from Peterborough is a regular visitor to Weymouth with his family. He said: “We come on holiday to Weymouth every year. The Sports Arena gives the kids an opportunity to have a go at sports they wouldn’t normally try. It was a bonus that Mike Gatting was here today.”