– GloHealth’s Sponsorship of Irish Schools’ Athletics is officially launched by Irish International Athletes Thomas and Jessie Barr and Olympic Medallist Roisin McGettigan –
GloHealth, Ireland’s most innovative health insurer, today announced its sponsorship of Irish Schools’ Athletics, which includes the full competitive programme from Regional and Provincial to National levels.
The partnership reinforces GloHealth’s long term commitment to improving the health and wellness of Irish people of all ages. The sponsorship responds to on-going research which demonstrates how participation in school sports plays a proven positive role in youth development, improved physical health and improved academic achievement through a variety of direct and indirect physiological, cognitive, emotional, and learning mechanisms.
Roisin McGettigan, Olympic medallist and sports consultant, who is an ambassador for the GloHealth Schools’ Athletics programme spoke of the lifelong skills that participation in schools athletics offers: “Studies show the positive effects of sport across the five “C’s”—competence, confidence, connections, character and caring which are considered critical components of positive youth development. Participation in sport can also help in developing the discipline of goal-setting, time management, teamwork, following the leadership of coaches and captains along with learning to lose—providing lifelong skills for those who take part”.
A recent body of research into Irish children’s sport participation and physical activity* reveals the following findings:
- Physical activity is important to children’s current and future health, and adherence to physical activity produces a range of direct and indirect benefits.
- Physical activity reduces depression and anxiety (especially in shy children), enhances mood, personal confidence, psychological resilience, management of emotions, self-esteem and quality of life.
- It has positive effects on academic performance, expectations and attainment including achievement in maths tests and reading, and on academic grades and perceptual skills.
- A child who emerges from school with confidence in their physical body and skills and who has been exposed to positive experiences in physical activity is more likely to adhere to an active lifestyle as they age.
Longitudinal studies** have also shown that school going children participating in sport, when compared to peers who do not play sport:
- have stronger peer to peer relationships
- have more academically oriented friends
- have greater family attachment and more frequent interactions with parents and
- exhibit more restraint in avoiding high risk behaviour and protection against social isolation
Irish International 400m Hurdlers Thomas and Jessie Barr were on hand to lend their support to the launch of GloHealth Irish Schools’ Athletics. Thomas said: “I really enjoyed my experience of schools athletics, as well as being great fun and making new friends it also helped me to develop as a competitive athlete. I have first-hand experience of the positive benefits that physical activity can bring when it comes to valuable life skills such as self-control, persistence, and responsibility”.
Jessie Barr added: “Being involved in schools athletics was a very positive experience for me both on and off the track, in terms of life planning and balancing training with study”.
The sponsorship by GloHealth also includes the School Mile Challenge which promotes running as a fun fitness activity in secondary schools across the country, with over 12,000 students participating during this term alone.
Speaking about the launch Jim Dowdall, CEO of GloHealth said “GloHealth is delighted to sponsor Irish Schools’ Athletics, an initiative which follows and complements our successful GloHealth Fit4Life programme and our sponsorship of Athletics Ireland’s National Championships. We are acutely aware of the proven relationship between participation in sport and its impact on a child’s current and future health, as well as the range of direct and indirect benefits associated with ongoing physical activity. Our partnership with Irish Schools’ Athleticsdemonstrates our continued commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle across Ireland from nurturing talent at grass roots level, to recreational running, to supporting our nation’s leading athletes”.
Michael Hunt, President of the Irish Schools’ Athletic Association said “The support of GloHealth is very welcome and allows us to deliver a best in class schools’ athletics programme that will help us continue to develop great athletes, like the Barrs, as well as increase the level of participation in the sport which will improve the health of all school children who take part.”.
The sponsorship will provide over 30,000 athletes with the opportunity to compete at Irish Schools’ Athletics championships from zones to provincial level, culminating in the prestigious All-Ireland championships in cross country, track and field and combined events.
The sponsorship of Irish Schools’ Athletics complements GloHealth’s advertising campaign entitled ‘#RunnersAreAmazing’ which focuses on people taking control of their health, by selecting from GloHealth’s innovative range of health insurance plans.
For more information on GloHealth Irish Schools’ Athletics, the GloHealth Fit4Life Programme or the GloHealth National Championships please visit athleticsireland.ie. For more information on GloHealth please visit GloHealth.ie or follow @GloHealth on twitter or ‘like’ GloHealth on Facebook.
* The Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study. (The Irish Sports Council, DCU, University of Limerick, UCC)
** www.Usada.org True Sport Report
‘Keeping them in the Game’ Report. ESRI 2013
US Centre for Disease Control Report into the impact of physical activity on the brain
About the GloHealth School Mile Challenge
The GloHealth School Mile Challenge promotes running as a fun fitness activity in secondary schools across the country. The challenge provides an opportunity for schools to encourage their students to try out recreational participation in sport. The challenge is open to everyone, with pupils either running, jogging or walking the manageable one mile distance. Last year saw a total of 42 schools across 18 counties register to take part in the challenge with over 10,000 students participating in the challenge.
About GloHealth Irish Schools’ Athletics
The Schools’ Athletic Association is the governing body for Post-Primary Schools’ Athletics. The association is a cross-community organisation with over 650 affiliated schools throughout the Island of Ireland, from which over 30,000 (30,454) secondary school student competed nationally in 2014.
National Competition: The Irish Schools’ Athletics Association competition programme includes:
- Cross Country – February/March
- Track & field – April, May, June
- Combined Events – September
International Competition: Each competition is followed by a Schools’ International between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.