IRELAND International rugby star Rory Best and Dungiven professional boxer Paul McCloskey were among the sporting names in attendance at The Venue on Wednesday night to celebrate some of 2012’s sporting highlights.
Michael Wilson reports
Local clubs from across the sporting genre including amateur boxing, gaelic games, athletics and rugby joined Sports Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, members of the public and London Olympic and Paralympic games makers and torch bearers.
Speaking from the Venue in Ebrington Square the Minister said 2012 had been a fantastic year for Irish sport.
“2012 saw celebration for sports people and sports fans from across Ireland,2 explained the Minister.
“We witnessed individual success for our Olympic and Paralympic stars, including medals and personal achievements. During the All-Ireland Torch Relay, torch bearers who carried the Olympic and Paralympic flame throughout cities, towns and villages provided inspiration and motivation to many. The 2012 Games were a success, thanks in no small part to the games makers who travelled and gave up their time to help in running and organising the event.
“As well as the Olympics, last year saw success for many teams at grass roots, amateur and professional level. Behind every successful athlete and team there is of course the invaluable advice and expertise from coaches, trainers and medical staff.
“In addition there is the support and encouragement from friends, family and fans. When celebrating our sporting success we must also pay tribute and recognise all of these people. I was especially pleased to see that William Campbell, father of the Olympic medalist Alan Campbell was able to attend.”
The Minister highlighted the important role sport has to play in breaking down barriers.
“Sport and physical activity are paramount in helping us lead healthy and happy lives. Sporting groups and clubs contribute to bridging gaps, breaking down barriers of exclusion and promoting social inclusion. Furthermore sporting organisations have a part to play in economic development and maintaining a sustainable society.
“I wanted to ensure that the event in Derry gaves everyone an opportunity to come together and celebrate all sports and sports people. It is never too late or early to get involved, to find a new hobby or perhaps start your journey on becoming a sports star of tomorrow.
“I am sure the momentum of our sporting successes will continue through 2013 and beyond. Already we have seen success within the fields of golf, cycling and skiing. We can also look forward to the World Police and Fire Games which promises to be one of the biggest sporting events this year in Ireland and will bring athletes from around the globe to compete in a range of sports.”