Active 2014

Louise is counting down to Games

WITH the clock ticking and only 116 days to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games, Louise Martin admits she gets a lump in her throat when she thinks about the opening ceremony.

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Louise Martin admits to getting a lump in her throat waiting for the Games to start
Louise Martin admits to getting a lump in her throat waiting for the Games to start

When the Scottish athletes march into Celtic Park it will mark the culmination of more than 10 years of hard work, and she will be bursting with pride.

"That, to me, will be the defining moment. We'll be pleased we've actually pulled it off. I really am convinced we will have the best Games ever," she nods.

"We're keeping them small, making them Scottish, we're not trying to compete with what Delhi did or what we saw in Beijing or Sochi. We're a proud nation, able to deliver this, and I think it's going to be really good."

We're sitting in her office in the ornate Templeton building, overlooking Glasgow Green.

As chairman of Sport Scotland Louise can look out of her window and see first hand signs of the Games effect: even on a rainy day, groups of joggers criss-cross the park.

This paper's new partner in our year-long Active 2014 campaign, SportScotland has a legacy ambition to make Glaswegians fitter and healthier. It echoes perfectly with our bid to improve the physical wellbeing of Scots.

Working with partners Glasgow Life, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and SportScotland we will be creating opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses to get active as we bid to improve the health of our great city.

The message of this campaign is that even the smallest of changes in activity and lifestyle can make a huge improvement to your life and health.

"Active 2014 links up closely to what our aims are and what we want to get out of the Games," adds Louise.

"Being the national agency for sport, getting involved in Active 2014 is a no brainer. This is an extension of the work we do, trying to get people more active more often and just enjoying themselves.

"One of the biggest legacy pieces of work we're doing is our community sport hubs, throughout the whole of Scotland. We have 126, we're aiming for 167 by 2015/16."

The initiative is a key component of SportScotland's contribution to the Scottish Government's 2014 legacy plan, and provides an innovative approach to the development of sport in local clubs.

Based in pavilions, sports and community centres and the the great outdoors, and with at least 50% in schools, the hubs bring local people together and provide a home for local clubs and sports organisations.

They also provide information, support and advice on a range of sports and physical activities.

Since 2010/2011, Sport Scotland has £1.5 million of Lottery funding every yeat to help develop at least 150 hubs across all 32 of Scotland's local authority areas by 2016.

With six grandchildren, three of them coming over from Australia for the Games, Louise is passionate about encouraging an interest in sport from an early age.

"They love it," she smiles, "it keeps them fit and healthy. It takes me back to when my two were that age - it is exactly the same again all over again."

That desire to get all generations fitter and healthier is another link between Active 2014 and SportScotland.

"In our Active Schools programme we've got virtually every school in Scotland working with us," says Louise, adding that throughout this year it will be celebrating the role it plays in school sport, with Active Schools teams playing a key part in local celebrations as the Queen's Baton tours Scotland.

A national network of staff working across Scotland to provide opportunities for children and young people to participate in sport before, during and after school, Active Schools harnesses team work to increase opportunities available to children.

By recruiting volunteers, it is working to build partnerships with clubs and community organisations to create pathways for pupils to continue participation in sport once they leave school.

Young Ambassadors is a programme, delivered by SportScotland in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, for school pupils aged 14 to 17.

Their role is to motivate and inspire other young people from primary and secondary schools across Scotland to get involved in sport and generate enthusiasm for major games.

"We have 17 sports in these Games and the vast majority of people will want to go and try them after the Games," says Louise.

"We've got to make sure all the clubs are geared up for this surge. One of the things we want to do is, just after the Games have finished, to have open day sessions in all of the facilities."

She has plans to keep those visiting Glasgow for the Games and locals alike taking the first steps towards a fitter lifestyle. Marked routes with entertainment along the way will have people walking between city venues.

"Gradually people will realise, I did quite a bit of walking today. Then it becomes the norm. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get fit."

Thinking back to the Manchester Games in 2002, Louise says it was standing watching the men's triple bowls in the pouring rain when she first thought: we can do this.

"The bid and presentation Glasgow put in was outstanding, you really felt the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. I could see it coming together," she remembers.

"The hard sell was convincing the other 71 countries we could do it. The thing that was against us was we were small, so we turned that around and used it to our advantage. Small is better and if we can do it, it means other small countries can too."

That dream will become a reality in 116 days.

angela.mcmanus@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Sport

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Tips to help you keep active from the Glasgow Club

  • Be realistic about what you want to achieve
  • Build up the intensity and frequency of your activity sessions gradually
  • Find an activity which you enjoy
  • Exercise with a friend
  • Use the stairs as often as possible
  • Make active choices as part of your daily routine
  • Get out at Lunchtime! Why not go to the shops or park at lunchtime instead of staying at work? The walk will also make you feel more awake in the afternoon