29 February 2024

Canberra girls (and everyone else!), lace up and discover your new passion

| Dione David
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three girls on a tennis court

Women, girls and the broader community can try 13 different sports at Canberra Girls Get Active. Image Tennis ACT.

Canberra’s largest community sporting event, aimed at inspiring, energising and empowering young women and the broader community to be more active, returns bigger and better than ever this weekend.

Tennis ACT has once again teamed up with sports organisations across the capital to deliver the Canberra Girls Get Active annual sports showcase – a free community event not to be missed, according to the ACT’s highest-ranked female tennis player, Alison Bai.

As Tennis ACT’s ‘Women and Girls Lead’, she has skin in the game but has the goods to back it up.

“The event has expanded from last year’s 12 activations to 16, all there to promote women’s and girl’s sports in the ACT,” she says.

READ ALSO Sandy Moore becomes the first woman to claim the Coaching Excellence Club category at Tennis ACT Awards

Though aimed at women and girls of all ages and abilities, boys and men are more than welcome to attend. Against a fête-like atmosphere with roaming characters, face painting, tunes from a local DJ and much more, they’ll have the opportunity to try their hands (and feet) at up to 13 sports.

Last year, the event broke its previous attendance record when 1100 patrons walked through the gate. This year, weather pending, they’re expecting to smash that.

children playing tennis

The event aims to inspire, energise and empower young women to be more active. Photo: Tennis ACT.

Alison reckons the timing is ideal for getting girls interested in sports, given the increasing spotlight on women’s sports in Australia, not just off the back of the Matildas’ success in the World Cup and qualification for the Paris Olympics.

“Our women’s cricket team has been killing it the last couple of years, and over the summer, we had Storm Sanders shining at the Australian Open. Then you have athlete Vanessa Low, who just broke her own world record for the long jump at the ACT Championships,” she says.

“These are amazing women doing exceptionally well on the world stage, and the more we talk about it, advocate for it and make space for exposure, the more it’ll trickle down to a grassroots level … and when it does, events like Canberra Girls Get Active help keep that momentum going.”

Representatives for the major sports – from basketball to netball, rugby league to union – will return. The event also features free Tennis Hot Shots classes running all morning from Tennis World Canberra.

But there are also some exciting newcomers to the mix.

Lululemon has come on board, with local ambassadors set to deliver yoga sessions. Viking Cycling Club ACT will bring bikes, and attendees can take a crash course in pickleball.

READ ALSO Tennis ACT celebrates 100 years of tennis in the capital and a very bright future

Alongside traditional tennis, Tennis ACT will offer a taste of the alternative style known as “pop tennis”.

“The Brumbies and Canberra Raiders, along with their mascot Velda the Valkyrie will be there,” Alison says.

“These teams have massive fan bases and always put on an excellent showcase, but we’re also excited for people to have the chance to explore a diverse range of sports.

“People are bound to find something that speaks to them.”

kids with basketballs

The hope is that participants will discover a lifelong love for a sport and enjoy the health, well-being and social benefits that come with it. Photo: Tennis ACT.

The first 200 children aged 12 or under through the gates will receive a free tennis racquet, and presenting partners CBR Massage will offer free seated massages.

But Alison says the greatest benefit is that Canberra’s young women might spark a lifelong passion for a physical activity that speaks to them.

“I’m passionate about getting women and girls into tennis, but to go broader, sport is important for health and well-being,” she says.

“It’s also an incredible vehicle for socialisation, connecting with others and bringing people from all walks of life together.”

Canberra Girls Get Active Day takes place Sunday, 3 March, from 10 am to 12 pm at Canberra Tennis Centre, 1 Riggall Place, Lyneham.

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