Youngsters connect with new sports

Donovan Primary School pupils (from left) Jacob Ultee, Cai Harvey (both 10) and Blaze Ridder (9).

FROM parkour to bowls and balloon badminton, more than 1200 school pupils made their way to ILT Stadium Southland last week to try their hand at a diverse range of sports.

Sport Southland’s Made to Move Invercargill team hosted the “Connecting Communities” event to give young people aged 9-13 a chance to try a new physical activity consider taking up in the future.

School facilitator Ricky Bakker said about 30 schools from Invercargill and its surrounds took part.

“For us, physical activity is so much more than moving.

“It’s about your mental health, your social well-being.

“These kinds of activities provide that, I think, for students and [help them] realise there’s more than just a certain sport to play; there’s loads of opportunities in our community that are available.”

He hoped the event would act as a platform to allow young people to experience a variety of sports.

Nearly 20 sports and physical education providers got involved in the event in support of the message.

Almost every provider had said they had children approach them saying they had not tried their sport before and didn’t know what it was, he said.

“For us, post this event [it’s about] how can we connect up those groups so that they can go into schools maybe or schools can come to them to continue that experience.”

Seeing engaged children who could choose what to have a go at, was one of the most rewarding parts of the day, Mr Bakker said.

“I look around and just love seeing kids moving and doing something they want to be doing.”