Tokyo this summer has proved to be a stage where British competitors have been able to compete and excel. And to amass a large metallic hoard of gold, silver and bronze medals across a very wide range of events in both the Olympics and Paralympics.
At Marlborough’s Recreation Ground (The Rec), just off Salisbury Road, Marlborough’s Sports Forum is holding a Marlborough Sports Festival, open to anyone of senior school age between the ages of ten and nineteen and encouraging every young person from Marlborough and around to come and try activity and sport. Lots of different activities. The message is: come and see what you enjoy, may have a natural aptitude for, or some sporting activity that will enhance your life.
It’s free. Funded by Marlborough Area Board, all any young person has to do is to register (click here) and turn up. Everyone registering and attending will receive a goodie bag and there will also be a free barbecue. This is about encouraging Marlborough’s young to find out about activities and sport, different types, and have a go.
It’s also a part of the ‘post pandemic’ recovery for the town: sport and physical activity has a big role to play in improving physical and mental health and reconnecting communities, something that is vital as we gradually emerge from the lockdowns and restrictions on all our lives caused by Covid and the pandemic.
What does the Marlborough Sports Festival at The Rec on Saturday week (18 September) have in common with the events – participations and successes of British competitors in Tokyo this summer? Potentially, a lot. Far more than anyone may think as every one of those competing in Tokyo, representing their country in their sport had to start somewhere. And in what sport?
This is where an event such as the Marlborough Sports Festival comes into its own as it enables young people to try sports – many or most for the first time – and maybe, just maybe set them on a course where dreams could end up as real achievements at Olympic events of the future – if not in Paris 2024, maybe Los Angeles in 2028. Or maybe Brisbane in Australia in 2032?
But such achievement requires dedication, inspiration and – not to ever ignore – dreams. And this opportunity to try different sports, that could form a major part of a young person’s life going forward, could just be the spark that produces competitors (and medallists?) of the future. But, it’s a long road, demanding commitment, effort and vision, not to mention lots and lots of support. And that’s where the sports organisations and clubs that will be present at the Marlborough Sports Festival will come in and help.
No-one is going to win an Olympic or World Championship medal by just turning up on Saturday week, but in seven, ten, or eleven years from now they might.
Click here to register, turn up on Saturday week (18 September), try whatever sporting activity that appeals and go on from there….
The Festival is organised by the Marlborough Sports Forum, funded by the Marlborough Area Board, and supported by many local institutions – particularly St John’s, Marlborough College, Marlborough St Mary’s, Marlborough Town Council, Wiltshire Council and the Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP), as well as local businesses such as Waitrose.
Simon Wells, Chair of Marlborough Sports Forum explained why the Forum is here and why it’s important to Marlborough. He told marlborough.news: “The Forum is committed to raising the profile of sport and physical activity within and around Marlborough, making it more accessible for all, especially children and young adults, by identifying opportunities and providing support to get involved. The grant we have received from the Marlborough Area Board has given us the opportunity to run the Sports Festival which hopefully will encourage more young people to become actively involved in sport and physical activity.”
Dominique Oughton, Engagement Officer for Wiltshire & Swindon Sport told marlborough.news: “Wiltshire & Swindon Sport (WASP) are excited to be working with and supporting Marlborough Sports Forum. We fully believe that sport and physical activity has a big role to play in improving physical and mental health and reconnecting communities. The sports festival on the 18 September will help tackle the inequalities we’ve long seen in sport and physical activity. The day will provide young people with array of different opportunities and bring the community together, helping remove the barriers to activity which has never been more important.
Kit Dillon, Head of PE, St John’s School who was heavily involved in drawing up the range of activities and sports for the Sports Festival by organising a questionnaire that generated at least 500 responses, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for young people of Marlborough. Here at St John’s we are always looking for ways to encourage our students to have a healthy active lifestyle. Having exciting events like this within the community gives them the opportunity to try so many different sports and will make a difference to our young people.”
Marlborough is becoming recognised as a ‘Sports Town’. A community that recognises the importance of sport (and other activities as well) being made available to the younger members of that community, and encourages active participation in sport at all ages and levels (Park Run on the Common every Saturday – an example of sporting activity for all).
As well as organising events such as the Marlborough Sports Festival, the Forum supports (and funds) those participating in sporting activities, enabling them to train and compete, something that is open to all youngsters from all backgrounds – but from the area centred on Marlborough.