Pitch in and have a go
Multiple sports on show
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.