CLUBS will attempt to capitalise on the excitement surrounding next year’s Commonwealth Games by taking part in a one-off extravaganza billed as the biggest gathering of Scottish sporting groups before Glasgow 2014.
An opening ceremony will be run for the first time to kick off the annual Festival of Sport in efforts to help produce the next generation of Commonwealth and Olympic athletes.
Entitled Sport with the Stars, the event will be held at Meadowbank Stadium and the Royal Commonwealth Pool on August 24.
More than 50 clubs will host activities across the two venues, with people able to try their hand at sports including gymnastics, volleyball, hockey, tennis and synchronised swimming. Organisers are aiming to attract 1000 participants, with the goal of encouraging more residents to take up active sport.
The Capital’s best Commonwealth Games medal chances, including Olympic breaststroke swimmer Craig Benson and Olympic judo athlete Euan Burton, are expected to be involved. Warrender Baths head coach Laurel Bailey, who counts Benson amongst her protégés, said clubs needed to make the most of the window between last year’s Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Ms Bailey said: “It’s really important that we take the opportunity to get young kids inspired in sport. Sometimes it’s not the easiest place to do that with the weather conditions that we’ve got, but I think Scotland’s doing pretty well off the back of the Olympics.”
The Festival of Sport, which is run by Edinburgh City Council, is in its fifth year. Coaching clinics, mini-tournaments and skill sessions will be among activities at the opening ceremony.
The opening extravaganza will be the highlight of a fortnight of activities across Edinburgh ending with the second annual Sky Ride – a mass cycling event taking in the city’s most iconic landmarks.
City festival and events champion Councillor Steve Cardownie said: “It’s no surprise the Festival of Sport has established itself so quickly as a popular fixture in Edinburgh’s packed events calendar. Once again it promises to be a bumper fortnight of sports.”
THE aim of the two-week Festival of Sport is to increase club membership and get local people involved in sport.
This year’s festival running from August 25 to September 8 has been billed as the biggest in the initiative’s five-year history.
Events across the fortnight will include a multi-sport come-and-try day, a coach and club development conference, the city’s annual sports awards, and a mix of local events developed by sports clubs.
Twenty different sports will be on offer.
The festival is being funded by Games for Scotland and will aim to engage communities ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.