From Grassroots To Professional

Take a look back at some of the most skilled and successful athletes and sportspeople in the country to see how they got started. You can also easily find the sports clubs and venues in your area to get into a new sport or pick up an old favourite.

Living the dream: Grassroots to Professional


Maddie Hinch

maddie hinch

Maddie Hinch started hockey when a school PE teacher told her the way she threw herself around on the rounders field might be better suited to a hockey goal. She began her hockey training at Exmouth Hockey Club before she worked her way up through the ranks to the England team. She made her international debut in 2008 against Germany and was an integral part of the England team that recently won the EuroHockey Championships as she fended off the Netherlands in a penalty shoot out for the gold. She coaches hockey on the side of her own sporting career, helping others play hockey in London.

It’s never too late to get into hockey! Find out where you can play near you.

Bradley Wiggins

bradley wiggins

This elite cyclist started cycling in London around Maida Vale after he used the compensation from an accident to buy his first bike. While he originally favoured London football clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal, but when he watched the cycling in the 1992 Olympics her was drawn to cycling. He started cycling in London with the Archer Road Club where his father had cycled before him. Bradley Wiggins competes in both road and track cycling events, and honed his track skills at the iconic cycling venue, Herne Hill Velodrome while his experience with road cycling began when cycling in Crystal Palace around the Sports Centre.

Find out where you can cycle in your area.

Katherine Grainger


Katherine Grainger competed in double sculls at London 2012 and is set to return to the event in with Victoria Thornly at Rio 2016. She didn’t start rowing until she was at Edinburgh University, but is now GB’s most successful female rower. Her progress at university was so rapid she was awarded the Eva Bailey Trophy as the university’s most outstanding female athlete for two consecutive years. Katherine Grainger is frequently on the London rowing circuit, she competed in a GB composite at WEHoRR 2014, a huge women’s race from Barnes to Putney, and was interviewed and commentated at Henley this year.

Get involved with rowing by finding your perfect London club here!

Mo Farah

mo farah

GB’s greatest long distance runner and the face of the iconic Mobot began his Athletics career in a West London school when his running caught the attention of his PE teacher. This prompted him to join the Borough of Hounslow Athletics Club. A few years earlier Mo Farah and his family arrived in London from Somalia, and the success he has enjoyed on the Athletics track in London 2012 where he won GB’s first ever gold medal in the 10,000m, as well as gold in the 5,000m. Continuing running in London, Mo made his marathon debut in 2014. Mo Farah now lives and runs in Twickenham and the gold post box in his honour for his gold medals for GB in Athletics is in Isleworth, Hounslow.

If you’re feeling inspired you can check out your local athletics tracks and clubs here and get active!

Harry Kane

Harry Kane

Kane was born in Chingford in London and began playing football with Ridgeway Rovers before he joined the Arsenal youth squad aged 8. He made his debut with Tottenham Hotspur and scored his first goal for the London football team in 2014. Harry Kane says his sporting genes come from his mum’s side of the family, but this apparently causes a lot of debates in the Kane household!

Fancy a game? Find your local pitch here!

If you want to discover more sports and venues then head over to Playfinder to get started with your sport today!