Edition number 30; dateline 24 July 2009
GB water polo buoyant after victory
Great Britain’s water polo squad have beaten the Czech Republic 9-7 in the final of the LEN Women’s European Nations Trophy at the Manchester Aquatics Centre thanks in part to four goals from Hannah Wild and the goalkeeping of Rosie Morris, who said: “We’ve done what we came here to do and we’re so happy about that.” British Swimming’s chief executive, David Sparkes, was also pleased with the way the team performed. “They played with such discipline and skill, and their fitness levels are very impressive,” he said. “This result shows they are on their way towards London in 2012 and we will renew our efforts to find the missing funding for them following the 75% cut in UK Sport funding announced earlier this year.” The team, who were doubtless inspired by the visit they received earlier in the week from Prince William, now go on to play at a qualification tournament in January 2010 to determine who competes in the European A Championships in 2011.
Youth sport up for discussion
An eye-catching array of academics will speak at Brunel University’s conference, Researching Youth Sport: Supporting Youth Ability and Talent, on 16 September. Planned and delivered by their Centre for Youth Sport and Athlete Welfare and the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, the event will have Dave Collins, Richard Bailey and Hamish Telfer on the platform. The stated aim of the conference is to examine support systems for young people at all levels of ability and performance, focusing on three key dimensions: sport science; ability and talent development; and welfare issues. Sport professionals are invited to check out the event website at http://www.brunel.ac.uk/rys2009 and take the chance to network with the wide range of researchers, academics and TLR hacks who are sure to be present.
Free swimming still on the agenda in Oldham
Oldham Community Leisure Ltd (OCL) has made the decision to continue with the free swimming initiative after a three-month trial period showed an overall increase in income when the government’s subsidy is taken into account. OCL, which operate facilities ‘at arm's length’ from Oldham MBC, has noted some “interesting” side effects, not least the need to deploy security staff to control the youthful exuberance of some new users, an increase in swimmers in difficulty and the need to exclude adult-only, family and lane-swimming sessions from the experiment. Reviewing the experiment, Ian Kendall of OCL told us: “While the initiative has introduced new markets to our pools, the maximum financial impact is likely to be in the summer holidays. Plus we are beginning to see that the free swimmers are pushing out existing members who have paid for swimming as part of a gym package.” Add these reservations to concerns expressed informally in some other Lancashire authorities that paying members are leaving for private clubs and will return when free swimming disappears off the agenda and it is clear that the jury is still very much out.
Trimming the Tiger
Ransomes Jacobsen, the UK-based turf equipment manufacturer, has won an order to supply over £1.5 million worth of golf course maintenance equipment to the Al Ruwaya Golf Club in Dubai, the first golf course design created by Tiger Woods Design. All equipment required to maintain the golf course to tournament-ready condition, both through grow-in and maintenance, has been delivered. David Withers, managing director at Ransomes Jacobsen, said: “This is highly significant business for our organisation.”
Afloat down stream
Getting slightly ahead of themselves, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) have announced that their 2010 National Festival will be held at Beale Park on the River Thames at Pangbourne, during the August Bank Holiday weekend, a venue that some of our more ‘experienced’ readers may remember as close neighbour to ILAM House. This year’s festival – on the River Soar south of Nottingham from 29-31 August – promises to be a great day out for young and old, boasting everything from a parachute display team to a beer tent with over 50 real ales. No boat required.
Afloat down under
The government of New South Wales has come under fire from the female sport lobby for cutting their financial support to the Beachley Classic, the world’s richest female surfing contest by $115,000 (approximately £55,000). Former multiple Association of Surfing Professionals World Surfing Champion, the eponymous Layne Beachley, has struggled to find sponsorship but has garnered support from local NSW MP Brad Hazzard, who said the government’s move undermines advances that have been made in promoting women’s sport. Former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis was also quoted in local newspaper The Manly Daily as saying, “Mate, Layne provides a huge amount of inspiration for young women in Australia and she doesn’t require a huge sum of money, so it’s disappointing the government is not supporting her event to the extent it should be.”
New courses for coaches
The Sports Marketing Network has piloted a new workshop for sports coaches who need more and better information on the building blocks of interpersonal communication. This new product is scheduled for launch in September. Former handball international Svend Elkjaer explained: “The rapid development of the coaching sector and the focus on CPD [continuing professional development] workshops designed to meet minimum operating standards rather than a professional or semi-professional coach’s day-to-day needs has left many individual coaches qualified and operating but without an enhanced understanding of skills such as body language, transactional analysis and using a questioning style. The workshop has been developed with this in mind and after a fascinating debate between coaches from a number of different sports we fully expect to be delivering the workshop in September.” Svend can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
NSA awards official provider status
The National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure has awarded ‘Academy Provider’ status to several training providers in the south east region. As Academy Providers for Health and Fitness, Amac Training, Lifetime and the Skills Partnership will all be offering a range of qualifications, including Level 2 Fitness Instructing and Level 3 Personal Training. As Academy Provider for Customer Service, Tourism South East will be delivering one-day courses in customer care. St Mary’s Training Centre at Southampton Football Club (Academy Provider for Volunteering) will be offering spectator safety training with an emphasis on volunteer training, while ST*R Learning (Academy Provider for Leadership and Management) will be delivering management development programmes including Level 2 Award in Team Leading, Level 3 Award in First Line Management and Level 5 Diploma in Management. ICON (Centre of Excellence for Sport Facilities Operations, Management and Leadership) will be providing a range of Level 2 and Level 3 government-funded programmes and vocational learning courses in exercise and fitness, activity leadership, health and safety, operations and management.
Deloitte have been awarded a gong for best corporate social responsibility in sport programme at the 2009 Beyond Sports Awards on the back of their commitment to Parasport, profiled in these pages in December last year. The award recognised Deloitte’s “commitment to improve the provision of disability sport and leave a sustainable legacy post 2012” in partnership with ParalympicsGB. Prime minister Gordon Brown, an unlikely cricket aficionado given he comes from Fife, paid tribute to the England women’s team following their unprecedented five months of international success (during which they won the World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20, beat the Aussies 4-0 in a one-day series and retained the Ashes) by inviting them round to his for tea. Leisure Industry Week will be back at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham 22-24 September and you can book early to avoid the queues. The £1.5 million redevelopment of Huntingdon Leisure Centre, managed by Alliance Leisure and Createability, has been completed. Salford Community Leisure has agreed a five-year partnership with Pulse to supply fitness equipment and supporting services across all eight Fit City sites. The Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) has officially launched STA Scotland. Sport England is claiming that “177,358 young people have completed 10-week sports courses in the first year of Sport Unlimited, a programme to get more youngsters playing sport outside of school”. Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that some partnership managers are allowing – or are unable to prevent – schools simply using the programme, and its attendant funding, to enhance their in-house offer. The world’s top under-21 volleyball players will be showcasing their talent at the beach volleyball SWATCH FIVB junior world championships in Blackpool from the 16-20 September, an event hosted by VisitBlackpool.
With only three years to go…
More than 175 non-commercial projects – over 100 of which are now part of the Cultural Olympiad – have been recognised through the Inspire programme. LOCOG estimates that ten million people will participate in the scheme by 2012. Construction work has started on the white water canoe centre in Broxbourne with the aim of being ready for community use and training in advance of the Games.
The town centre link bridge, which links Stratford station to the Olympic park, has been successfully put in place across eleven live railway lines. The construction of the Olympic stadium’s external structure has been completed. Hornby Plc has been awarded the licence to develop and market a range of products associated with the London Games across its Corgi, Hornby, Scalextric and Airfix brands.
Gregor Townsend has been named attack coach in Scotland rugby’s backroom reshuffle as new head coach Andy Robinson makes his presence felt. HRH the Earl of Wessex has landed the plum job as president of the CCPR, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh in a post where the only qualification seems to be German forebears. David Kenworthy, former chief constable of North Yorkshire police, has been appointed the first chairman of United Kingdom Anti-Doping, the new stand alone national anti-doping organisation that will take on the existing testing and education responsibilities currently delivered by UK Sport. The board of Sportscoach UK is pleased to announce the appointment of Philip Kimberley, the chairman of England Hockey, as Sportscoach UK interim chair, and a director of the organisation. Kimberley will assume the role with immediate effect for two days per week for the period up to the return of Ian McGeechan from his current leave of absence later this year. Nigel Lynn has been installed as the new president of CLOA. Escape Fitness has strengthened its team in continental Europe: Raimo Treffers has been appointed as trade sales account and distribution business manager and Katrin Jaernecke is the new national key account manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Scotsman Jim Doyle has been appointed as chief executive of New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL), an administration that was slammed by New Zealand’s sport and recreation agency, SPARC, in a review in March. Doyle, who has been in NZ for fifteen years and built a $450 million marine technology company, is a RL fan but will have his work cut out as the sport “needs a lot of help following the damning SPARC report”. Tony Hall, the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, has been appointed to the LOCOG board of directors and he will chair a new Cultural Olympiad board.
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News in brief
Staccato reports from the cultural typeface
ON THE JOB: The Aquatics Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid as one of the showpieces of the London 2012 Olympic Park, is half way to completion, according to the Olympic Delivery Agency. Lifting the steels into place for the 160m, 2,800 tonne roof has been one of the most testing engineering tasks to date. The building will house two 50m pools, a diving pool and a dry diving area, seating 17,500 people during the Games, reducing to a maximum of 2,500 after the Games; a further 1,000 seats will be added for major post-Games events.
TAEKWONDO IN SPORTCITY: Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson will be in action alongside her elite academy team-mates at the British International Taekwondo Open, due to take place at the Manchester Regional Arena in Sportcity on 29 and 30 August. The event has been awarded world-ranking status by the World Taekwondo Federation in addition to the European ranking it already holds. Clare Hartley of UK Sport told us: “It is fantastic that the British Championships has been recognised in this way. Not only will British fighters have the opportunity to experience world-class competition on home soil ahead of 2012 but they will now also be able to gain world ranking points.”