Ayrshire rises to sporting challenge

Nearly 450 P7 pupils from South Ayrshire Council schools gathered at the Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr to take part in a sporting extravaganza, the first ever South Ayrshire Athletic Sportshall Challenge as part of Games for Scotland.

The pupils were very active, participating in a variety of run, jump and throw activities, using the adapted indoor sports hall athletic equipment. When they return to their own schools the pupils will pass on their experience and knowledge to other pupils and promote and sustain athletics within their schools.

As part of the Scottish Government’s legacy ambitions to engage communities across Scotland with the Commonwealth Games, the Games for Scotland programme has been designed to inspire, develop and support a range of exciting events and activities across the country.

The Council was awarded £10,000 to organise a programme to meet their aim to inspire, develop and support sport and cultural activities across South Ayrshire. These events will engender pride in Scotland’s people around our hosting of the Games.

Councillor Margaret Toner, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure who was at the event said: “This was a great event where children from primary schools across South Ayrshire were able to take part and realise the importance of the Commonwealth Games that will take place in Glasgow in 2014.

“International sporting events raise the profile of our countries athletes and also the profile of Scotland and the important part it plays in world athletics.”

Councillor Hywel Davies, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning commented: “It is vital that we encourage children in all our schools to get up and be active and take part in physical activity.

“I am sure that some of the children who took part in the Athletic Sportshall Challenge will be inspired to take up a new sport or pursue at higher level the one in which they are already engaged.

“The Commonwealth Games in 2014 are not far away and I hope that many children in South Ayrshire will take more interest in sports, and who knows some of our young people may go on to represent their country at future international sporting events.”

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have the power to motivate the people of Scotland and capture the imagination of communities throughout the land. As well as the Games themselves in 2014 it is the desire and ambition of the Scottish Government and all partners involved that the games truly engage all parts of Scotland in sport, healthy living and various inspirational celebrations of our culture and heritage as a nation and as part of the Commonwealth.

With the support of Scottish Government’s Games Legacy team, EventScotland launched the Games for Scotland funding programme to local authorities and event managers in 2010. Such was the level of engagement in this programme and support for celebrating Scotland’s role as host of the 2014 Games that funding has been allocated to support the Games for Scotland programme in 2011.

The overarching theme of the 2011 programme is ‘Countdown’ with Games for Scotland Events taking place from 23 July (3 years to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games) until 27 October (approximately 1,000 days to go to the start of the Commonwealth Games).

The event was organised in partnership with Sports Development, Active School Co-ordinators, school employees, volunteers and local clubs and SGB Scottish Athletics.

Shona Robison MSP, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport said: “It’s little more than three years until the start of the Commonwealth Games. Now more than ever in the countdown to 2014 it’s important that we involve local people and communities from across Scotland in the excitement of the Games.

“Hosting the Games is not only about putting on a spectacular sporting extravaganza but also about leaving a lasting legacy for the people of Scotland. The Games for Scotland programme is a key strand of this and is a perfect platform for bringing the community together. I would encourage everyone to come along, have fun and play their part.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said: “The Athletic Sportshall Challenge epitomises what the Games for Scotland programme has been designed to accomplish; inspiring, motivating and engendering pride amongst the people of South Ayrshire around Scotland’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Featuring a range of different athletic activities, the event provided people with the opportunity sample a range of sports and discover the benefits of an active lifestyle”.