August 14, 2007

7th Global Youth Hockey Marathon prizes
for Paraguay, Ghana, Croatia and Malawi

Paraguay, Ghana, Croatia and Malawi are the prize winners of the 7th Global Youth Hockey Marathon. These countries have been selected for creating wonderful, innovative events during the Marathon weekend on 12 and 13 May 2007 within the theme ‘Hockey, a Sport for Everybody Everywhere’.

ParaguayParaguay made an arrangement with the city authorities in the capital city Asunción, to use public areas to promote and demonstrate hockey. On the Saturday a carpet was laid on the main square of the city and on Sunday on the “Quesada”, which is a street between two shopping malls. Young and old, male and female gave hockey a try. About 300 people joined the hockey sessions and another 500 people came to watch.

Report from Paraguay

Croatia demonstrated hockey on a school playground in Sisak, which is a new area for promoting hockey outside Zagreb. In the capital the organizers showed that hockey can be played in public facilities, such as parks, playgrounds and meadows. The coaches encouraged the young players to have fun with hockey whenever they can, no matter where they are. A school ground, the country side, a vacation spot – just take your hockey stick and play!

Ghana organized hockey in all possible places: in the woods, on a road around a block of flats and on the beach. Young boys and girls who have never played before were invited to try out hockey in these innovative places. The media were well represented: Ghana’s national TV station, the widest circulating newspaper in Ghana (The Daily Graphic), its sister paper Junior Graphic and the radio channel Happy FM all covered the event. A link was made with the Beach Sports Association and further efforts will be made to include hockey in their future activities.

Malawi organized a big club & school tournament, for boys and girls in the age group U10, U14 and U21. A special invitation was made to people affected by HIV/AIDS, who were welcomed whole heartedly. Hockey, a Sport for Everybody, in the true sense of the word!

The winning countries have been selected by the Marathon jury, consisting of FIH DCC Chair Anne Ellis, FIH Development Manager Gabrielle van Doorn, FIH Youth Panel coordinator Tina Brullo and FIH Youth Panel Chair Mario Rosado.

The prize winners will receive a hockey development kit sponsored by FIH Official Supplier TK, consisting of 75 sticks and balls.

Thirty five countries took part in this year’s Marathon. A selection of reports and pictures has been posted on the WorldHockey website and can be accessed by clicking here.

The majority of the participating countries managed to get really good media coverage. Local and national TV, radio and newspapers reported on the event. This is a great achievement for the promotion of hockey.

A special mention should be made to Hockey New Zealand, who counted 28,881 participants in its Marathon and National Youth Week. What a great achievement and what great enthusiasm!

Many young hockey leaders have been passionately involved in the organisation of this event. Some of these youngsters have participated in one of the first three World Youth Hockey Promoters Festivals. For potential young leaders there will be an opportunity to participate in the next Festival, which will take place in Victoria, Canada from 27 April till 3 May 2008. More information on this Festival and participation forms can be found by clicking here.

The FIH would like to congratulate all the participating countries for their great events and count on their participation again next year.