A COMMUNITY-wide challenge to ease people back into moving now has added punch.
Sports Central launched a virtual challenge on Tuesday, aimed at helping people of all abilities and fitness to ease back into exercise and organised sport. Coincidentally, this came as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared regional Victoria would take an earlier-than-expected leap into step three for lifting restrictions and, from Thursday, outdoor sport is back.
Sports Central executive officer Michael Flynn said the virtual challenge was initially planned as a way to get people moving with limited interactions. Instead, this was now a chance to celebrate and inspire people to get back in their game and on the move.
This is very much trying to encourage, inspired and celebrate what people are doing...connecting back with friends through forms of exercise.Michael Flynn, Sports Central executive officer
"This certainly offers a really good incentive and focal point now for whatever gets your body moving and gets you active," Mr Flynn said.
"This is very much trying to encourage, inspired and celebrate what people are doing...connecting back with friends through forms of exercise."
A social media-based challenge, Get Active Central Highlands encourages people to post photos and videos being physically active through a 14-day period, from September 28, to be in the running for up to $1,250 worth of prizes. This includes and organisation or team prize.
From Thursday, non-contact outdoor sports for adults and all outdoor sports for juniors can resume. Outdoor fitness classes for up to 10 people also have the green light.
This comes days after regional Victorians were allowed to start exercising in groups of five.
Mr Flynn said while many sportspeople were keen to get back training and into competition, it would still take time for state sporting associations to clearly determine what was permitted and extra regulations clubs must follow.
Committee for Ballarat chief Michael Poulton said while eased restrictions for restaurants, cafes and shops were important to start re-activating the city, sport was also an important social factor.
The focus has quite rightly been on business and the effect on the economy, but we should not lose sight of the fact this has also had a huge social impact.Michael Poulton, Committee for Ballarat chief executive officer
"The focus has quite rightly been on business and the effect on the economy, but we should not lose sight of the fact this has also had a huge social impact," Mr Poulton said.
"I was involved with my junior hockey team for six weeks (before lockdown), we had three weeks of training and three games. It was an enormous benefit for those kids and their parents to be able to get to hockey training. (The announcement) is fantastic for community sport."
Most summer sports across the region have an advantage in general social distancing.
Sports Central has been working closely with clubs and associations to survive and bounce back from pandemic restrictions.
Mr Flynn said many clubs had been innovative in engaging members and looking to what they could do. He said it would be interesting what winter sports clubs might now start to activate under eased restrictions.
"There will be people who are a bit wary and hesitant. Leaders within sport and recreation have a role to play in re-engaging not just participants, but a volunteer base too," Mr Flynn said.
Leaders within sport and recreation have a role to play in re-engaging not just participants, but a volunteer base too.Michael Flynn, Sports Central executive officer
Central Highlands Get Active challenge is a partnership between Sports Central, Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, Women's Health Grampians and City of Ballarat to help people emerge from lockdowns.
Sports Central will host the challenge through its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Anyone who lives, works and plays in the Central Highlands region can enter. People who enter before September 27 have a chance to win a three-month gold membership at Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre. More: sportscentral.org.au.
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