With the Gold Coast winning the right to host the 2018 Commonwealth games, Queensland’s tourist hotspot is set to take to the world stage (or the Commonwealth stage at any rate). In so doing, it has paved the way for a predicted $2 billion windfall in economic benefits and the creation of thousands of jobs, according to media reports.
Of course, this is great news for Queensland from a pride-perspective, as well as economically (although the long term financial benefits of hosting such large scale events are questionable, as Sydney and every other Olympics-hosting city will testify). But the celebrations and announcements made by Premier Anna Bligh et al failed to speculate on the potential fitness windfall for the State, and for Australia as a whole.
Admittedly, Bligh did make mention of the accelerated construction of sporting venues, saying; ‘We will have the chance to demonstrate the diversity of our city...this will be the catalyst to fast track transport and sporting facilities’, but she didn’t discuss the amazing impetus that such a high profile event could have on the fitness of the state’s population.
Like so many countries, Australia’s obesity and overweight problem is growing ever larger, if you’ll excuse the pun. An event such as the Commonwealth Games provides a brilliant opportunity to spark the motivation for getting fit, strong and healthy – particularly in the current generation of kids and young teenagers, whose age now, in 2011, places them in the age group to potentially even participate in the 2018 games.
A lot can happen in the seven years between now and then. Think about it: what an amazing incentive to set yourself the target of focusing on, and training for, a spot on the Australian team in the sporting discipline of your choice.
By focusing only on the economic benefits, the powers that be would be missing an opportunity to encourage physical activity – as well as sending out the message that monetary rewards are far more important than fitness ones. Here’s hoping that the fitness-enhancing potential of the Commonwealth Games will also be fully embraced in the coming months and years.
Whether you work as a fitness professional on the Gold Coast or elsewhere in Oz, how will you use the 2018 Games to incentivise fitness and positively affect more people?