Olympic hero Sir Steve Redgrave has announced that the University of Ulster’s community sports project ‘Sport Comes 2 Town’ will this summer be held in the Borough of Craigavon.
The Ulster Sports Academy initiative, organised in partnership with Craigavon Borough Council, will be held on Saturday 25 June in Portadown and Lurgan, with people from all over the country invited to the sporting spectacle, which urges people to get involved in sport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
More than 30 local sports teams and organisations will take part in the free cross-community family day, which aims to introduce new sports to people and encourage everyone to get active.
Launching Sport Comes 2 Town, five times gold medal winning Olympian Sir Steve said: “Sport is all about community and having fun and ‘Sport Comes 2 Town’ is all about getting the community engaged in sport especially with the Olympics in London on the horizon.
”The University of Ulster and the council have put a lot of work into developing the project which looks set to be a great day in Craigavon and will be good for families in the area to try different sports and get active.”
The cross-community festival will feature a multitude of sporting events for women, men and children of all ages including cheerleading, basketball, futsal, American football, archery, and rowing.
Dr Nigel Dobson, Co-Director of the Ulster Sports Academy, said: “The Sport Comes 2 Town initiative is an important part in our Academy’s aim to encourage everyone to take part in physical activity in the run-up to next year’s Olympics. Physical activity not only has enormous benefits for health and wellbeing but also creates greater social cohesion through cross-community engagement following the Olympic ideal of cultural harmony.
“As well as the University being an important centre of research and teaching this initiative affords us the opportunity to engage with the community through sport and as a widening access institution that reaches out to all people, that is something that is very important to us.”
In the run-up to the big day, clubs in the area are also hosting their own sports days, with the showpiece events being held at the Meadows Shopping Centre, High Street Mall Craigavon and the Lurgan Park.
Craigavon Borough Council's Chief Executive, Dr Theresa Donaldson, adds: "Craigavon Borough Council is leading the way for public participation in physical activity, helping to improve the health and wellbeing of local people. The area has a vast and diverse range of sports due to its rich natural resources and this sporting extravaganza is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the many types of sports available throughout the Borough and the many local sports clubs taking part in the event."
The University of Ulster project follows on from a successful pilot initiative held in the borough last years that saw Sir Steve rowing partner Sir Mathew Pinsent attend the community sport celebrations which he called “the best I’ve ever seen”.
The Ulster Sports Academy teamed up with Unify Global Sport (UGS) to deliver the pilot event, as well as subsequent Sport Comes 2 Town events in Ballymoney and Jordanstown as well as the event in June.
Richie Smith from UGS said: “Sport Comes 2 Town is a unique event delivered by local clubs and people that allows young and old to experience new sports and activities. At UGS we are extremely passionate about SC2T because it has proved to been able to bring people together through the power of sport. We aim to build with our partners and supporters on last year’s success on the lead up to London 2012 and beyond.”
For further information on the Sport Comes 2 Town initiative and a full listings of events taking place in June, visit www.sportsulster.com.