Pitch in and have a go

Mul­ti­ple sports on show

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Nor­mally the do­main of pro­fes­sional ath­letes, about 600 Welling­ton school chil­dren took to the field at the West­pac Sta­dium last Tues­day to have a pitch at new sports.

The Pelorus Trust Sta­dium Sports Fes­ti­val is a huge an­nual have-a-go day of sports, giv­ing chil­dren a chance to try a range of dif­fer­ent codes they might not oth­er­wise be ex­posed to.

Tra­di­tional sports like cricket, foot­ball, rugby and net­ball were rep­re­sented along­side more un­usual games like fut­sal – a vari­ant of soc­cer played with a small foot­ball – tra­di­tional Maori poi games and ul­ti­mate fris­bee.

Can­nons Creek School and St Theresa’s in Plim­mer­ton were among 21 pri­maries from the Welling­ton re­gion lucky enough to top a long wait­ing list of de­mand to take part in the day, and give 18 sports a try.

Craig Ire­son of Sport Welling­ton says the day is a cel­e­bra­tion of hav­ing a go, be­ing ac­tive, and friendly com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘ They’ve got en­ergy to burn – lis­ten to the buzz around – they are all jump­ing up and down and just can’t wait to get in­volved.

‘‘For many chil­dren this is their first time at the sta­dium, or at least on the field, so it’s the idea that they could be here per­form­ing in front of 20,000 peo­ple one day.’’

The chil­dren get a real thrill out of tak­ing part, he says, and or­gan­is­ers hope they will find a sport they want to join, which could de­velop into a life­time of sports in­volve­ment.

Re­gional and in­ter­na­tional sports­men and women were on hand to talk the chil­dren through fun rou­tines to sam­ple the sports, in­clud­ing All White and Welling­ton Phoenix player Leo Ber­tos, Bel­gian na­tional hockey player Elke Mer- tens, ex-all Black Dave Loveridge and and mem­bers of the Welling­ton Fire­birds.

The sports­peo­ple min­gled with the chil­dren dur­ing lunch.

The sports that were sam­pled this year were ath­let­ics, Aussie rules, bad­minton, cricket, foot­ball, fut­sal, golf, gyms­ports, hockey, karate, net­ball, rugby league, rugby union, ten­nis, turbo touch, ta­ble ten­nis, tra­di­tional Maori games and ul­ti­mate fris­bee.

Im­pressed: Can­nons Creek School boys Mau Tealei , right, and Jay­den Mes­sen­ger may not be wash­ing their hands again af­ter meet­ing Phoenix player Leo Ber­tos.

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