TWENTY years after they were first held in Limerick, the 36th World Medical & Health Games will return for a week this July.
Up to 1,500 participants from Europe, Canada, the US, Morocco and Japan are expected to attend the games in Limerick, which will include triathlons, half marathons, a 100km road cycle race, as well as golf, tennis, swimming and volleyball.
Launching the event, the Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan said “it is particularly appropriate that the university should host an event which links medicine, health and sport given its prominent role in the development of medical, health and sport education and research.”
Established in France by Corporate Sports Organisation Paris, under its chief executive Pierre Lusinchi, the games will bring together people of all ages who work in medical and health settings. A promotional campaign is underway to encourage Health Service Exceutive staff in Ireland to participate in the games as a way of meeting their peers worldwide.
Mr Lusinchi they are delighted the games are returning to Limerick. “I’m hugely impressed by the incredible advancement in the sports and accommodation facilities at the University of Limerick since our last visit in 1995. The superb infrastructure offered by UL in terms of its Olympic-style sports villages means we can comfortably accommodate our athletes and their families in one very attractive location,” he enthused.
He also said that he recognises Ireland as a country easily capable of hosting major international events and is keen to encourage Irish participation in the games, hoping in particular that the triathlon, half marathon, cycling, soccer and tag rugby will attract Irish competitors.
A special registration fee of €50 is available to Irish participants (overseas registration is usually €250). For the first time in its history, this year’s games will also include a Kiddy Games to attract family participation.
UL sports director David Mahedy said while the UL campus is the main venue for the games, there is huge enthusiasm locally, with several key events taking place with the support of other clubs and venues throughout the city and county, including the Limerick Cycling Club, Triathlon Club, Limerick Lawn Tennis Club and Ballyneety and Castletroy Golf Clubs.
“The great advantage UL has in hosting an event of this scale is that apart from the sports facilities, participants can avail of many of UL’s amenities including its attractive ensuite residences and the wonderful atmosphere in our great value bar restaurants and cafés dotted across the campus. We will also offer Games visitors dawn walks along the river, tours of our arts and sports collections and entertainment from students of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and local artists,” said Mr Mahedy.
UL’s graduate medical school is hosting a two-day international symposium during the Games, on the importance of health in sport.