10 April 2015

No ordinary games

The Chief Executive Officer of Australian University Sport, Don Knapp, is well aware the Gallipoli Games concept is a sporting event that extends beyond the more traditional competitions and has already begun educating and inspiring his Australian delegation.

"We are trying to develop a team culture by correspondence and letting them know that this isn’t going to be your typical sporting event,” he says.

“It has a particular purpose and that is honouring the peace that exists between the countries that fought 100 years ago and at the same time commemorating the Gallipoli battle and perpetuating the legacy.”

He feels the energy and excitement already brewing from Australian shores as the team prepares for the inaugural Gallipoli Games to be held in Turkey.

“We are really excited. The clammer for spots and spaces to go was just overwhelming,” he says.

Some of the eager Australian university athletes will be asked to keep a journal so there is cause for reflection on the varying experiences of being present on a peninsula of sacred soil while also competing within its surroundings.

It is understood the Gallipoli battle still touches so many Australians with many students telling him their great grandfather’s fought in the campaign.

Knapp believes the Gallipoli Games sporting arena is an opportunity for these young Australians and athletes to "think of the tragedy and the sadness of Gallipoli,” also saying, "while commemorating the tragedy you’re almost celebrating the peace that exists between the nations that fought there."

"In terms of perpetuating the Gallipoli legacy there are very few better ways of doing it than through sport,” he adds.

He is a strong advocate for the benefits of sport with many personal experiences to draw from having himself represented Australia in baseball across both Europe and Asia.

"We’re doing a lot of research into the participation of sport and how it influences graduation rates and academic reports. And also how people who participated in sport have better rates of employability once they graduate.”

"I’m a real campaigner in the area of sport being a fundamental part of education.”

Gallipoli Games will launch on April 25th with nine sporting disciplines.

Knapp describes it as an event with "huge potential”.

“It will become one of the most interesting international sporting events on the calendar because of the symbolism and the world wide attention on Gallipoli at that time.”

Written by Sheldon Heyes, Lifestyle Writer for Turkey