City games kick off

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

City games kick off

The inaugural Mount Gambier Regional Variety Games held by School Sport SA got under way at the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre this week.

Around 140 students from six primary and secondary schools in Years 4-12 played non-competitive basketball and five-a-side soccer.

Mount Gambier is one of three regional areas in the state to host the event alongside only Berri and Kadina.

School Sport SA assistant team leader Daniel Rankine said he aims to provide the games as an ongoing opportunity for students both in the Limestone Coast and across the state.

“We are lucky enough to get some support from Special Olympics and Variety the children’s charity to put these on so it’s no charge to the students,” he said.

“To be able to get it here just to reduce the costs as much as possible for the schools is why we do it.

“We have got one young girl that travelled from Kingston down here so that’s pretty cool but I think having it local gives them more of an opportunity to access it.

“It’s so incredible to watch how inclusive they are, sharing it around and getting everyone on their team involved.

“Hopefully through some support from Special Olympics there might be an opportunity to develop a program that’s focused on the five-a-side soccer and the basketball and have some local people.

“Some of them already play basketball for their local clubs and things like that but if we can provide opportunities for those students that are not as confident then why not?”

Mr Rankine said he would like to see the annual event expand to be split over two days and potentially include more sports.

“There’s always scope to make it bigger and if it happens that we get enough we can run a primary only day and a secondary only day,” he said.

“There’s a lot more than six primary schools in the South East and the same with the secondary schools so there is scope to definitely grow.

“We set it up so secondaries are doing five-a-side soccer while the primaries do basketball and then in the afternoon they swap.

“That was to give a bit of variety and it was based on a survey that I put out to the schools to say what sport would you like and the overwhelming majority said basketball and soccer.

“I will survey the schools that are here afterwards to see if they want to continue and build on what they have done this year or open it up to different sports, it’s basically guided by what the schools want.”

Mr Rankine said he would like to thank School Sport SA South East zone convenor Stephen Day and Mid and Lower South East district convenor Tony O’Connell, the high school students who voluntarily umpired and the centre for hosting.

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