This weekend Athlone is to host the 45th running of the national Community Games finals at the athletic stadium in the AIT sportsground.
Over 3,000 children from all over Ireland will take part in the HSE-sponsored games, the second of two such festivals of excellence organised each year.
In May the more sedentary, indoor competitions in painting, chess, handwriting, choir, and model making are held, alongside the more active pursuits of gymnastics, judo, badminton, dance, and swimming.
This weekend is for all the track and field pursuits, and the traditional team events the Community Games started with before it became more inclusive in its latter years.
Sporting luminaries such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Rose-Anne Galligan, Sarah Lavin, Brendan Boyce, Mark English, and Sean O’Brien are just some of HSE Community Games past participants, and with such powerful role models it’s no wonder that the Community Games grows in popularity each year.
Sonia O’Sullivan gave great advice to the HSE Community Games recently when asked about encouraging children to do sport.
“ I have two girls Ciara and Sophie, who are both involved with sports at school, and I encourage them as much as I can to take part in lots of different sports, with the main focus being on having fun and being active. They take part also in competitions as it is good to experience competition to see how you react. Competition is all around us in school and in work, it is not just limited to the playing field,” said our greatest athlete.
This is the advice that the HSE Community Games is encouraging every child in Ireland to listen to – make sure the main focus is on having fun and being active – but that there is no harm in having a little bit of competition!
Results will be posted on www.communitygamesfestival.com throughout the weekend.