OXFORD marked the year-long countdown to the 2012 Olympics with a sports day in South Park, showcasing everything from lacrosse to wheelchair laser fights.

Taster sessions in dodgeball, football, gymnastics, badminton, climbing, rowing, spinning and dance were also available for hundreds of families at yesterday’s Oxford City Council event.

Organiser Courtney Warden explained: “We want to raise awareness, and get people to go and try a different sport.

“It is about getting a legacy out of the Olympics and to inspire people with the values of the Olympics.”

Sports clubs hope to benefit from a boom in new recruits when millions are gripped by the biggest sporting spectacle Britain has ever staged, which opens on July 27 next year.

Chloe Lloyd, 11, who attends Abingdon Gymnastics Club, added: “I am really looking forward to the Olympics, and I am hoping it will lead more people to take up sport.

“Through gymnastics, I have had a lot of fun with friends, worked really hard, and learned a lot of different skills.”

Oxford Brookes student Henry Bliss, 21, used the event to attract potential recruits for the city’s first lacrosse club, which he is hoping to launch in the coming year.

He said: “There is currently nothing for people who want to take up the sport in Oxford.

“We want to introduce it to a variety of people other than students.

“It is the fastest game on TV, and everyone can play it.”

Among visitors to the event whop are already counting down to the London Games is 27-year-old Naomi Green, from Headington.

She and her mum Pat are among the 1-in-50,000 successful bidders for tickets to the 100m final on August 5, 2012.

She said: “We are the most excited people you can find, and we just want to go and see Usain Bolt win It’s going to be incredible.”

Don’t miss our special Olympics countdown supplement in Wednesday’s Oxford Mail