Capital Football’s innovative Walking Football is a finalist for a CBR Sports Award, in recognition of its ingenious way of getting the older generation out and moving.
Capital Football has been nominated alongside Tennis ACT and Triathlon ACT in the Innovation category, with the winner set to be announced by the ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry at the CBR Sport Awards next Friday Night (29th November).
Played on smaller pitches with six players, the Canberra Foot and Ankle Clinic (CFAC) Walking Football competition adopts a number of modified football rules, including no running, tackling or kicking the ball above head height.
Now in its second season, the sport has seen a staggering increase in numbers, with over 130 adults aged over 45-years-old now taking part.
Capital Football’s Game Development Manager Kelly Stirton said she is shocked to see how quickly the game has grown.
“We started with only six sides playing in the competition last year, running it for eight weeks over the summer months,” Stirton said. “In season two, we now have 15 teams.
“It has really taken off which is just fantastic.”
Regardless of their playing experience or footballing skill, Stirton said everybody is welcome to come along and play.
“Most of the people who have signed up either played football many years ago but no longer play due to injuries or they are women who have sat on the sideline watching their husbands and kids play but have never played themselves,” Stirton said.
“We have a lady playing this season who had never touched a football before, who now comes every single week and loves it.”
Stirton said one of the strong appeals of the competition is the social aspect the sport brings.
“Lots of the players don’t know each other but at the end of the eight weeks, they have become great friends,” she said. “We have DJ Mista Nige out there playing his tunes, which creates a festival atmosphere.
“At the end of the day, it is just a really good laugh.”
Stirton said it was humbling that the sport had been nominated for a CBR Sports Award.
“It is incredible that our initiative has been noticed by the ACT Government, alongside other great sporting organisations,” she said. “At the end of the day, if we can continue to see more people join and try this new style of football, that is enough reward for us.”