Olympic gold medallist and London 2012 Committee chairman Sebastian Coe KBE has thrown his weight behind the University of Ulster ‘Sport Comes 2 Town’ festival which kicks off today.
The unique four-day sporting extravaganza will take place from Wednesday 23 June to Saturday 26 June in Portadown, with four times Olympic gold medal winning rower Sir Matthew Pinsent the star attraction.
The pilot project from the Ulster Sports Academy is encouraging families in the Craigavon borough to get active and join in the sporting festival, and has been recognised by top sporting personnel.
University of Ulster ‘Sport Comes 2 Town’ has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme.
The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Lord Coe, who holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster, and is Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: “The Inspire programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like Sport Comes 2 Town are enabling people in Northern Ireland to make positive life changes.
“We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change. The Inspire programme is recognising the work our partners all round the UK are doing to help us achieve this vision now – three years out from the start of the Games. I congratulate everyone involved in Sport Comes 2 Town for securing the Inspire mark and wish you every success with your work.”
The four-day fun-packed event has something for everyone, with golfing and basketball events on Wednesday. On Thursday Sir Mathew Pinsent comes to town, with the four times Olympic gold medal winning rower speaking at the second in the ‘Raise Your Game’ conference series.
The business and sports leadership and management conference, which is run in conjunction with sports management and events company Podiem and the University of Ulster’s Ulster Business School, will take place at Portadown Rugby Club.
Dr Nigel Dobson, Co-Director of the Ulster Sports Academy, said: “The University of Ulster ‘Sport Comes to Town’ festival is all about getting active in sport. We have been working hard to develop links within the area and bring the sporting message to the people of the Craigavon borough and make families aware about the enjoyment of sport.
“The University of Ulster aims to become the leading university on the island of Ireland for sport and we aim to do this by engaging with the local community and bringing sport to the people. There will be something for everyone over the four days. As well as family activities there will be opportunities for local businesses to get involved and get behind sport in the area.”
The cross-community festival will feature a multitude of sporting events for women, men and children of all ages.
Friday will see another Olympic hero, Dame Mary Peters, in Portadown as she returns to the town where she went to school and takes part with some of here sporting friends in a ‘Question of Sport’ at the Seagoe Hotel.
The same day will also see the International Conference on Sport and Good Relations at the Civic Centre, with experts examining the big issues of sport and social inclusion.
Saturday will see a family-packed fun day of sport, with the Meadows Shopping Centre being the centre of attraction. The green beside the shopping centre will feature multi-sports events with a sports showcase in the shopping centre.
Further info on all the events at Sport Comes 2 Town can be found at www.sportsulster.com.