A team representing LEITRIM took part in the 2018 Go for Life Games held in the DCU on Saturday, 9th June. They were one of twenty four teams of older people from around the country participating in a day of fun sporting activities.
The Go for Life Games brings together almost 300 older players from all over Ireland to compete, get active and most importantly to have some fun. Now in its seventh year, it has grown to become one of the biggest social sports events for older people in Ireland.
Go for Life is the national physical activity programme for older people, run by Age & Opportunity and funded by Sport Ireland. The Go for Life programme and the Games event demonstrates that sports are for everyone, not matter what age you are.
With 24 teams from 21 counties competing LEITRIM faced some stiff competition on the day. The Spirit of the Games awards go to teams or individuals who encourage a spirit of fair play and solidarity during the final. The Leitrim team member’s sociable and spirited contribution singled them out for a special award on the day.
What began as a one-day event in 2012 is now a year-round phenomenon, with older groups training, practicing, competing and coming through heats in their counties in order to compete in the finals in DCU.
Mary Harkin, Physical Activity Programme Manager for Age & Opportunity was delighted with the great atmosphere on the day:
“The Games are a real highlight of the Go for Life year and there is a great buzz around the day which reflects the build-up in each county with leagues, blitzes and weekly games happening in the local sports hubs in the lead up to the national event. It is a really collaborative event with almost 30 different sporting organisations working together to celebrate older people and sport.”
The games themselves are devised specifically for older people. 'Scidils' is a two-sided adaptation of ten pin bowling but using two skittles and 'Flisk' is adapted from boccia and horseshoe pitching. This year Go for Life introduced a new game ‘Málaí’ - an adaptation of the popular cornhole game using beanbags and a wooden box which is now being made for groups all over the country by Men’s Sheds.
These games, with clear rules and scoring systems, can be played and practiced by everyone, no matter what level of sporting ability. They are great for developing balance, flexibility and concentration. The social aspect of the Games also brings people together with a healthy amount of competition to keep things interesting.
Patricia Forde Community Sports Development Officer with Leitrim Sports Partnership said:
“I’m delighted to bring the first team from Leitrim to the national Go For Life Games, we’ve had great support from Age & Opportunity to develop the Games through Leitrim Sports Partnership. Today we have participants taking part from Drumkeeran Active Age, Carrick on Shannon Active Age & Drumrielly Active Age.”
The Leitrim team was made up of players from Drumkeeran, Carrick on Shannon and Drumreilly and the team was coached and facilitated by Leitrim Sports Partnership.