Sports with a Twist
While the delegates at the 13th Olympic Congress exchange ideas and thoughts in the meeting rooms of Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, the west wing of the large conference hall has been temporarily transformed into a “Sports Bazaar” for young people.
Nineteen sports are on display, offering demonstrations for visitors and the opportunity to learn more and test their skills. The one-day Bazaar serves to exhibit just some of the sports included in the three-year “Youth Programme” launched by the NOC of Denmark in 2008. The programme aims to increase youth participation in sport by encouraging national sports federations to propose alternative formats of their sports which are more attractive and accessible to younger people.
“All the sports displayed here are traditional sports presented in a non-traditional way,” said Niels Nygaard, President of the Danish NOC.
Making it Fun
Kayakpolo brings a ball-throwing team aspect to the sport of kayak, blending the two in a fun water sport that develops agility in the kayak as well as team spirit. Mixed gender participation is also encouraged, as in street badminton or field hockey. Football is practised one-on-one in a small gladiator-style ring and volleyball is made more accessible by offering different levels of participation combined with a “chill out” zone featuring hammocks and a snack bar serving fruit smoothies.
Technology and Sport
Others sports blend modern technology and video games with physical activity. Catching Features Live combines the sport of orienteering with its electronic version – one player navigates a digital orienteering course whilst the second does the same out in nature before the two swap roles. Demonstrations on how GPS and SMS can be used for training were on offer as well.
Young people are also encouraged to voice their thoughts with regard to sport. An “opinion booth” equipped with a camera allows visitors to record a message whilst looking at a giant portrait of the NOC President. Another stand lets kids build their ideal sports club using Lego.
“It is important to have a counter-balance to all the meetings going on,” said Nygaard of the activities taking place at Copenhagen’s Bella Centre, “This is what it is all about.”