(Photo: FIH)

After the success of the previous editions, the 7th Global Youth Hockey Marathon of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will take place during the weekend of 12 and 13 May 2007.

The aim of this event, initiated during Hockey’s International Year of the Youth in 2001, is to promote youth hockey worldwide. All FIH affiliated national associations are encouraged to take part.

The theme of this years’ Marathon is ‘Hockey, a Sport for Everybody, Everywhere’. This theme gives emphasis to the idea that hockey can be played by all age groups, young and old, and everywhere, on all types of surfaces and a wide variety of venues. Young players don’t necessarily need an expensive state-of-the-art synthetic pitch to play and don’t need ten other enthusiasts to make a game.

National Associations have been called on to use their creativeness, showcase novel venues and demonstrate alternative formats of the game (e.g. 5-a-side) in a broad-based effort to make the sport of hockey more accessible to all.  

Annually 40 to 45 countries have supported the Marathon and the FIH hopes that 2007 will see even higher levels of participation. The FIH has already received some excellent plans from, amongst others, Macau, Paraguay Ghana and Malawi. Macau proposes to try out a special program with new groups and venues. Paraguay celebrates its Marathon in the parks and on the streets.

Ghana will organize 5-, 6- and 8-a-side hockey in car parks, open spaces in residential areas, at school sport facilities and on the beach on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Malawi has put forward a detailed plan to organize an event titled “Hockey Youth against AIDS” at the Limbe Club in Blantyre.

The FIH is pleased to announce that, with the support of FIH Official Supplier TK, prizes will be awarded to the top entries in this years' Marathon competition. The four National Associations that organize the best events incorporating the main theme will each be granted equipment kits of 75 sticks and 75 balls. The adjudicators of the entries and awards will include members of the Working Group Youth and the FIH Youth Panel. Prize winners will be announced mid June 2007.

Reports and pictures of this year’s Global Youth Hockey Marathon will be available on the FIH official website www.worldhockey.org. (Click here for the special Global Youth Hockey Marathon section). Furthermore, a special Global Youth Hockey Marathon feature will be shown in the ABN AMRO WorldHockey Monthly TV magazine this summer.