This week, from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd October 2020, the best young touch footballers from across Queensland will be vying for a different-looking national championship at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The event is the first mass Touch Football event in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Touch Football Australia (TFA) having had comprehensive safety plans approved by Queensland Health. With borders closed and all teams coming from Queensland, the National Youth Championships (NYC) have been reformatted and will feature new Under-12s, Under-14s and Under-16 divisions, as well as the regular Under-18s. Fifty teams will participate, which is a strong result.
Despite the challenges, 50 teams will still compete at the event – a strong result demonstrating participants’ eagerness to get back to sport – so the event will provide much-needed economic stimulus to the region and local businesses.
TFA CEO Jamie O’Connor said while the tournament is different this year, the organisation was committed to holding the event.
“The National Youth Championships offers an opportunity for our Queensland-based junior players to participate and experience the many social and mental health benefits of playing sport in a year where they have been starved of that,” he said.
“The event delivers significant economic benefit which will play a role in assisting in the recovery of Sunshine Coast businesses and tourism operators, and with the Sunshine Coast Council having been a partner of ours for more than a decade, we’re really excited to be able to play our part in that recovery.
“It is also important, as the national sporting organisation, for us to display strong, positive leadership to instill confidence in our membership that people can get back to playing sport as long as government-approved safety measures are in place and adhered to.”
Previous participants in the NYC event include NRL stars Kalyn Ponga, Ryan Papenhuyzen and, of course, NRLW stars such as Tarryn Aiken, and O’Connor added, “I’m looking forward to seeing the next generation of players that are coming through our ranks compete on the Sunshine Coast.”
Games on field one of this three-day event, and all finals games, will be livestreamed via Touch Football Australia’s Facebook page.
The NYC is a nice lead-in to Touch Football’s peak social summer season, which starts shortly. Touch Football is a sport that’s inclusive in that it caters for both genders, a wide variety of ages, abilities and communities, and that’s why it’s Australia’s largest social sport.
KEY FACTS & FIGURES:
- 50 teams from throughout Queensland will participate
- Approximately 1,000 players and a total of 2,000 visitors (mostly made up of players’ families and team coaches, managers, medical and other staff) to the Sunshine Coast
- Generating $2 million economic impact for the region