The Olympic Games showcases sports not usually covered on TV. This presents a great opportunity to widen children’s awareness of different activities and introduce them to new ways to stay healthy, socialise and develop skills and confidence.
Here are just three sports to watch out for at London 2012. If the kids are enthused, why not get together as a family and try them out yourselves?
Sailing is a lifetime sport, suitable for participants of any age. It’s a fantastic activity to introduce to children as it's tactical, exciting and, as we live on an island surrounded by water, there is plenty of opportunity to give sailing a go.
The Great Britain sailing team has high medal hopes for London 2012, with gold medallists and Olympic veterans Ben Ainslie and Paul Goodison hoping to fly the flag for Great Britain once again. At the Beijing Games in 2008, Great Britain topped the sailing medals table with four golds, one silver and one bronze, so this is definitely a sport to watch.
There are 10 medal events in total, all taking place in the waters around Weymouth and Portland in Dorset. Each event consists of a series of races, in which the winner receives one point, second place receives two points and so on (with the exception of the women’s Match Racing event). In the final race – the medal race – the points are doubled. The crew or individual with the fewest points is the winner.
Sailing is a very technical and tactical sport, with conditions such as wind speed and direction constantly changing. If you don’t yet know your port from your starboard, tune in to the coverage between 29 July and 11 August and check out http://www.thegamesandbeyond.com/Sailing if you’d like to give the sport a go.
Table tennis requires super-fast reactions and good hand-eye co-ordination. It is actually the largest participation sport in the world, so a great activity to get children excited about.
The table itself is 2.74m long and 1.525m wide and the ball weighs just 2.7g. Singles matches are played over the best of seven games, with the first to 11 points (with a clear margin of two points) winning each game. In doubles matches, players must take it in turns to hit the ball. Team matches consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, each played over the best of five games.
The singles and team events are knock-outs, with the winners of the semi-finals competing for the gold and silver medals and the losers of the semi-finals competing for bronze.
For more information about table tennis go to http://www.ittf.com/
Archery has been around for some 10,000 years, firstly as a necessity for hunting before becoming a competitive activity in medieval England. The archery competition will take place at Lord’s cricket ground and, with skill and steely nerves, archers will shoot at a target 70m away.
There are four medal events and athletes must shoot their arrows as close to the centre of the target as possible – the targets are 122cm in diameter. Hitting the gold ring in the middle is worth a maximum 10 points and it measures just 12.2cm.
At the start of the competition, all archers take part in a ranking round where they must shoot 72 arrows in 12 phases of six arrows. Each phase can take up to four minutes. The total score of all 72 arrows determines the athlete’s ranking.
Although our athletes didn’t secure any medals at Beijing, hopes are high that the team can reach the podium at the London Games.
To find out more about this precision sport head to http://www.archery.org/
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Fitness Professionals Ltd or Virtual Magazine. Consult a qualified health or fitness professional before making changes to your diet or exercise.