Out of 45 successful events held during this year’s Global Youth Hockey Marathon, Venezuela, Oman and Argentina were selected as the prize winners.

A jury, consisting of Anne Ellis (Manager FIH DCC Working Group Youth), Gabriëlle van Doorn (FIH Development Manager), Tina Brullo (Coördinator FIH Youth Panel), Mario Rosado (Chair FIH Youth Panel) and Lwandile Simelane (Secretary FIH Youth Panel), selected these three countries for their successful attempt to introduce minority groups within the national hockey family to the game.

In Argentina hockey is a typical female sport and boys form the minority. A full day of hockey fun was organized for close to 600 boys, including mini hockey games, skills activities with national players and fun group activities with friends and parents.

Oman has been an active Marathon participant for years, but involved this year for the first time women to its event. Sessions were also held with people with a disability.

By attracting these two new target groups Oman wanted to make the 2006 Marathon a “fun packed event for all” and a real family happening. There were basic skills stations for the different target groups and after that everybody could watch the veterans demonstration game.

Venezuela invited young people from a home for underprivileged youth and an orphanage to their Marathon activities. Clinics were held by national players to introduce these children to the game, after which they could watch the men’s national team playing a match.

The three winning countries will receive a TK equipment kit, consisting of 75 sticks and 75 balls, to be used for follow up activities with these specific target groups.

It was not an easy job for the jury to select the prize winners, as close to all the participating countries managed to attract new people for the game, once again making it available for “Everybody”.

Thirteen National Associations focused on minority groups within their hockey population. Hong Kong and Venezuela invited disadvantaged groups, where Oman, UAE, Panama, England, Poland and New Zealand organised sessions for young people with a disability.

In Argentina and Ireland, boys form the minority and big events were organised to grow the male hockey population. In Oman and Pakistan the opposite gender was invited and South Africa encouraged its black population to participate in the Marathon. Well done to all!

As in previous years many young people were involved in the organisation of the Marathon.

In Wales the young “Hockey Activators” were the main organisers of the Marathon. In the neighbouring country, the England Hockey Youth Panel took charge of a multi event for more than 600 young people and 1200 visitors. Poland also used its Youth Panel for a very innovative event (see country reports on the WorldHockey website).

All the participating countries must be complimented for the brilliant exposure which they received. This year’s Marathon got covered by many local and national newspapers and 37% of the countries who participated appeared on national TV.

A compilation of the TV coverage can be found on the BDO TV magazine, Episode 14 and 15.

As can be read in the country reports, the participating National Associations do not see this Marathon as a one-off event and will continue to attract new target groups, making our sport more and more a Sport for Everybody!