Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades with members of Southern Cross University netball team at yesterday’s launch of the Eastern University Games.
Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades with members of Southern Cross University netball team at yesterday’s launch of the Eastern University Games. BRENDAN RAY

Huge week of sport for Coffs Coast

WHEN THE Eastern University Games open on July 4 to signal four days of competition on the Coffs Coast, it is expected that nearly 2000 competitors will converge on Coffs Harbour.

Featuring basketball, soccer, European handball, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, tenpin bowling, tennis, touch football, ultimate frisbee and volleyball, the sporting extravaganza will also bring spectators, medical staff and officials to the town.

Coffs Harbour City Council mayor Keith Rhoades believes that such an event underlines the work that has been done to turn Coffs Harbour into into one of the sporting tourism capitals of Australia.

The games are returning to Coffs Harbour for the first time since 2006 and Rhoades believes that having such a short wait for repeat hosting duties is a credit to the Coffs Coast.

“When you think that you’ve Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria and all of the centres including the capitals, when you think of those to be selected twice in four years tells you a story,” Cr Rhoades said.

“It tells you about how we can put it together and the facilities that we’ve obviously got.”

The massive event is being held at the same time as the FFA National Girls Youth Football Championships but Cr Rhoades says that having two massive events in town at the same time won’t cause any problems.

“The people from the Eastern University Games will be using all of the fields on the western side of the stadium as well as the Bray Street indoor complex and they’ll be using venues right around the city and the official opening will be held at the university,” he said.

“At the same time at the stadium we’ve got the girls 15s and 17s national titles.

“That’s going to be a huge, huge week.”

Held during the middle of winter, Rhoades pointed out that hosting two big events at that time would prove to be a massive financial boost to the local community.

“It’s seen as a dull time of year tourism-wise with many wondering what is business going to be like yet here we are bringing over 2000 competitors and spectators to this event coupled up with the under 15s and 17s,” he said.

“So we’re looking at having somewhere in the vicinity of 6000 people in Coffs Harbour for that period of time.”

The 2010 Eastern University Games are being co-hosted by Southern Cross University and the Coffs Harbour City Council.

Southern Cross University sports officer David Graham can’t wait for the games to begin so SCU can be showcased to students of the 15 universities and four TAFEs that will be competing.

“It provides us the chance to showcase the new sport and recreational facilities at the Coffs Harbour campus to visiting student competitors and officials from throughout NSW and the ACT,” Graham said.

Graham added that he’s also hopeful of the local university being able to win the lion’s share of medals on offer.

“We are aiming to bring together our strongest team ever from across the Southern Cross University campuses to compete in this major event and are looking to make the most of the home-town advantage,” he said.



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