Cork clubs and athletes have the chance to shape the new world of sport

Cork clubs and athletes have the chance to shape the new world of sport
Members of the public rowing in Lower Aghada in East Cork. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

DO you want to have your say in determining how sport might look both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic?

If so, put on your thinking caps and become part of a global challenge aimed at re-imagining what sport and physical activity might look like in the future.

UCC and Cork Local Sports Partnership, as well as Sport Ireland, the Federation of Irish Sport and the Irish National Centre for Outdoor Education and Training, have come together to launch the challenge along with the Copenhagen-based International Sport and Culture Organisation.

They are looking for the best ideas on how sport and physical activity can survive and thrive in a world remarkably different from what has gone before.

It takes place the weekend after next, June 26-28, and teams can submit their ideas online.

Further information and to register see: www.sportireland.ie/participation/design-challenge-2020

All registered teams will receive free support in the form of a preliminary one-hour Workshop on Design Thinking by UCC’s Dr Fiona Chambers, to help participants prepare their pitch.

Proposals may be targeted at specific age groups or ability levels or the different ways in which people interact with sports and physical activities or how space is used in participation.

Killian Nolan at the launch of the Run & Ride for Pieta. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Killian Nolan at the launch of the Run & Ride for Pieta. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Successful teams will also have the opportunity to be matched with experts in the sporting world to incubate and trial some of the ideas.

Participants might consider, for example, the potential of sport and physical activity to help moderate the impact of Covid-19.

Or an evaluation of the current methods for managing the safe use of sport and physical activity locations now and after the pandemic.

Other areas might include improving the clinical care of people with Covid-19 infections through sport and physical activity and reducing disparities in sport and physical activity opportunities during crises and post-crises.

“We are seeing empty football stadiums, matches taking place behind closed doors, and sports clubs of all kinds restricting access,” said Dr Chambers

“Social distancing restrictions are making training different and changing the nature of participation in sport.

“At the same time people are more conscious than ever of the need to stay physically active. This ‘free to enter’ global challenge is designed to ask the question.

“How might we sustainably redesign sport and physical activity for children and families, the young and the not-so-young, for participants, spectators, fans and community groups, so that it is inclusive, accessible, attainable – and fun! – during the pandemic and afterwards?

“We are using the principles of Design Thinking to re-imagine a world of sport and physical activity and we invite the best ideas from around the globe," commented Dr Chambers.

Professional cyclist Eddie Dunbar of Team INEOS training near his home in Banteer. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Professional cyclist Eddie Dunbar of Team INEOS training near his home in Banteer. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

The safety of all involved in sport, whether it’s professional or amateur, player or coach or simply a spectator, is the number one priority.

And it’s the same for walkers and cyclists whose numbers increased substantially during the early stages of the pandemic and don’t show any sign of reducing, which is to be welcomed.

The return of La Liga in Spain at the weekend was overshadowed by a pitch invasion or rather an intruder during the Mallorca-Barcelona game played by behind closed doors as is the norm in all returning sport, apart from New Zealand, which is disease-free.

Barca duly won 4-0 to remain top of the table ahead of Real Madrid, but the game was dominated by the intruder, who wore an Argentine jersey with Messi’s name on the back, and tried to take a selfie with the unsuspecting and probably bemused Jordi Alba.

The intruder didn’t wear a face masks or gloves, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the disease and its untold consequences.

It was an important lesson.

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