Spotlight turns to ‘Sportadown’

Rosie Jennings and Emma Jennings helped 'Brutes and Beauties' finish third in the Dragon Boat regatta. Also included are, from left, Kevin Oliveira (Sportadown deputy event director) and Richie Smith (Unify Sport and Sportadown).
Rosie Jennings and Emma Jennings helped 'Brutes and Beauties' finish third in the Dragon Boat regatta. Also included are, from left, Kevin Oliveira (Sportadown deputy event director) and Richie Smith (Unify Sport and Sportadown).

Success arrived on two fronts last weekend as the annual Sportadown festival helped to raise awareness of the area’s rich sporting diversity and generate over £1,500 towards charity.

The highlight of Saturday’s showcase took place on the River Bann as crews representing Dublin, Donegal and Belfast joined competitors from the borough on the River Bann for the Dragon Boat regatta.

Fourteen teams tackled the course across a four-hour programme.

The packed schedule also included exhibitions within Meadows Shopping Centre from the many of the area’s sports clubs to introduce members of the public to different activities.

The festival was organised by Unify Solutions (Unify Sport) and Community Intercultural Programme (CIP).

“It was great to see hundreds of children and young people from so many backgrounds enjoy an action-filled day and put Portadown on the map,” said Stephen Smith, the CEO of CIP. “The festival was supported by the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, plus Meadows Shopping Centre and Richgrill.

“We have built on previous years in the delivery.”

The programme attracted over 1,500 people, according to the organisers.

“In addition to the fantastic contributions from sport providers, one of the vital elements of Sportadown was the volunteering aspect of the event,” said Richie Smith, director of Unify. “A number of the 25 young people, mostly from Oasis Youth Club, were trained in event management and provided a sterling job on the day.

“All will receive a volunteering award in recognition of their contribution.”