EK News Column – 13.07.16

Linda Fabiani MSP“It’s been quite a weekend for sport! Football’s European Championship, the Golf Scottish Open at Inverness and the tennis finals at Wimbledon.


Probably though, the tennis was the most nail-biting thing, and wasn’t it fabulous to see Dunblane’s Andy Murray retake his Wimbledon title in such sparkling form. Another worthy champion too in Alexandria-born Gordon Reid who wrote his name into the Wimbledon history books with his win in both the Men’s Wheelchair Singles Final and the Men’s Double Final! Great stuff lads, doing Scotland proud.


East Kilbride has a smashing record on sport too. The EK Sports’ Council is the longest-standing Sports’ Council in the country, supporting sporting disciplines right across the board. I am always amazed at their annual awards’ ceremony to see the range of sports covered, and the number of participants – the athletes themselves, but also the coaches, administrators and volunteers, who all clearly love what they do.


Just this weekend the EK Trampoline Club walked off with a slew of medals from the British Finals, and it seems that the EK Swim Team smash records and win titles at every ‘Meet’ they attend. EK Athletic Club have some real stars too, winning scholarships at US Universities.


A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated the sporting excellence of the EK Gymnastics Club at their annual Trophy Ball, with young people of all ages aspiring to be acrobats and gymnasts. The East Kilbride Rugby Academy goes from strength to strength with more and more young people of all ages gaining a love of the sport and training hard up at Calderglen.


Last time I was up at the Rugby Academy it was good to see the girls from Duncanrig training. The Scottish Government has committed to a Sporting Equality Fund aimed at increasing the participation, engagement and promotion of women in sport. Work to establish the fund is underway, and I will be keeping a close eye on progress, along with the EK Sports’ Council, to make sure that girls and women in East Kilbride can take advantage.


One sport which isn’t particularly thought of as a major sport in Scotland is cricket, but East Kilbride does have a vibrant cricket club. I was delighted recently to be able to invite members Brian Kampman and David Healy through to Parliament where I was co-hosting, along with our Government, a Reception for the International Cricket Conference. The ICC were holding their event in Scotland, bringing together all cricket playing nations of the world – a symbolic event since it is the first time it has taken place away from Test playing countries. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Football is a major sport in Scotland of course, even though we weren’t represented at the European Championship! East Kilbride’s football teams, from the Claremont Colts through to Kilbie are all excellent and embedded in our communities. I wonder how many of our EK players have managed through to Glasgow this week to watch some of the Homeless World Cup – a week long tournament with teams from every part of the world; 416 games, with 100,000 spectators expected in George Square. My friend Angela is working there, and I hear that the atmosphere is wonderful.


The Homeless World Cup Foundation brings together teams from every continent to compete in a street football tournament. Every one of the 500+ players in the tournament is homeless, and they have each engaged with programmes run by the foundation to deal with some incredible personal challenges. The competition is a celebration of all that they have achieved so far, using football as a means to get back into a more stable life. Good luck and best wishes to each and every one of them. Well done to Mel Young and the Foundation, to the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council for bringing this together. It is said that sport changes lives and in this initiative it’s certainly true.


My sporting prowess is non-existent – always was! I do like to watch though – armchair participant! That was very true earlier this week when I visited the Meeting Place in EK Shopping Centre and took part in Seated Tai Chi – it might have been seated, and it might seem gentle, but some of the very senior citizens were certainly more able than I was, and after an hour I felt like I’d had a real workout! Time for me to stop watching and get doing I think … …”

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