Mark Wright going head-to-head with sports pros

With the summer of sport upon us, the TV star was challenged to get out of his comfort zone by trying gymnastics, football – and even pickleball – to see how he fared against the professionals.

First up, he was challenged by Max Whitlock, an Olympic Champion, to perform a routine on a pommel horse. Next, he got his gloves on for a penalty shootout against Lionesses Millie Turner and Toni Duggan – but only managed to keep out one of their many attempts.

And he was given the run-around at pickelball – the sport which combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong – by rising star of the sport, Thaddea Lock.

It comes after research found the average adult will be spending 25 hours glued to the TV this summer – as the sporting takeover begins.

Mark Wright, who is working with Babybel, said “I’ve always been passionate about sports and they’ve played a hugely important part in my life.

“With such an exciting summer of sport ahead of us, I was buzzing to rise to the challenge set for me, to get out of my comfort zone, and test my skills against some proper pros.”

The study found 37% will be spending half of their free time indoors between June and August watching sport. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) will be doing this at home while 31% plan on enjoying it from the inside of a pub.

Euro 2024 will be viewed by 76%, with 69% support the Olympics, and 56% watching Wimbledon. Despite this excitement, only 20% plan to actually play sport this summer, while 45% admit to never taking part in any sporting activity in general. And 23% don’t remember the last time they tried a new sporting hobby.

However, 29% would feel confident giving something new a go that was outside of their comfort zone. Pickleball was voted the top sport those polled would like to try, followed by padel, squash, and golf.

It also emerged that of those who play a sport, they take part in two activities on a regular basis, with football, athletics, and badminton among the most played.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found 73% believe taking part in community sports positively impacts your mental and physical health a great deal. While 82% feel taking part in such things also has a positive impact on the wider community.

A spokesperson for Babybel, which is launching a grassroots competition to help people stay active and connect with others, said: “Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a daunting prospect, but it can have huge benefits on our wellbeing.

“Our research showed that lots of us will spend time enjoying watching sport this summer, but we want to encourage people to join the goodness and get actively involved.”

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