Sunday, August 07, 2016

Memories of the 2012 Oslympic Games

Looking back at the 2012 Oswestry Games multi-sport event in Shropshire.

Back in the summer of 2012 we were proud to be a part of the Oswestry Games. The festival of sport in Shropshire saw the sport of minigolf included in a multi-sport games event in the UK for the first time.

The Oswestry Games, or 'Oslympics' as they became known, were a mammoth undertaking for the organisers at the Oswestry Sports Council and it was a real pleasure and honour for Emily and I to organise the minigolf events along with other coaches and players from the national tour.

The coaches and competitors in the Pro-Am minigolf tournament at Cae Glas Park

The Oswestry Games consisted of more than 50 sports and cultural events held over ten-days in July 2012.

Minigolfing at the Oswestry Games

Things got off to a great start on our first night in the town - not only were we recognised while on our way to the sporting quiz night at the town's cricket club, but we also won the bronze medal in the quiz itself.

The bronze medal winning quizzing minigolfers

The Saturday morning of the Games saw us organise coaching sessions for locals youth and adult players on the 18-hole 'Eternit' miniature golf course in Cae Glas Park in the town centre. This was followed by the BMGA Oswestry Games Pro-Am Minigolf Classic team tournament in the afternoon - won by Marc 'The Force' Chapman, Steve Sturdy and Chris Powell.

On the tricky Cae Glas Park miniature golf course

Sunday was the closing day of the Games and a large number of clubs, regional organisations and national governing bodies gathered at the Leisure Centre for a jam-packed day of sporting fun, games and competition.

Playing the Putterfingers Crazy Golf course at the Oswestry Games

With a Putterfingers modular Crazy Golf course we took centre stage and had a large number of the public, athletes and competitors from other events joining us for a round on the 9-hole course.

We scooped Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the Games - and what very fine medals they are too

We ended our trip to the Oslympics by contesting the BMGA & Putterfingers Oswestry Games Minigolf Championship - which I won!

The podium for the pro-tournament - Marc Chapman, me and John Moore

Did you know - Miniature Golf was once played during the actual Olympic Games! While it was not officially part of the Games programme, the participants in the Golf tournament at the 1904 Olympic Games held in St Louis, USA also competed in a Putting Championship on a specially built miniature golf course at the Glen Echo Country Club.

It'd be great to see miniature golf become an Olympic sport one day. And we'd also like to see the Oswestry Games return once more. Perhaps when the UK next hosts the Olympics, minigolf will be an event, and Oswestry will host their Games again.

The future for the sport of miniature golf looks bright, with the international governing body - the World Minigolf Sport Federation - gaining further recognition on the global stage all the time. The WMF is a member of SportAccord and an organisation called AIMS (the Alliance of Independent Members of SportAccord) - who's goal it is to achieve International Olympic Committee recognition for its members.

Back in 1989 the sport (Bahn Golf) was a demonstration event in the IWGA World Games in Karlsruhe, Germany. The WMF is also hoping to have minigolf included in other multi-sport events in the future.

As the umbrella organisation of minigolf sports association's worldwide and continental associations in Asia, Europe and America the WMF has 55 members. The sport is played on an organised level in Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, China, Chinese Taipai, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Kenya, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA and Vietnam.

There are more than 38,000 competitive minigolf players registered with the WMF via the 55 member nations, with 900-plus clubs between them. Over 1,000 courses are approved for official competitions and around 1,500 minigolf tournaments are held each year.

Aside from the March 2011 list Emily and I have been in the sport's international rankings since November 2008 following our debut for the Great Britain team at that year's Nations Cup championships in Tampere, Finland.

We're hoping to one day visit the Olimpiapark Munchen too as the venue has an eternit miniature golf course that was set-up in the Athletes Village for the 1972 Olympic Games. That'd be a great course to play on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Related blog posts:
- The Oswestry Games
- Miniature Golf and the Olympic Games

- Oswestry Sports Forum
- The Oswestry Games 2012
- World Minigolf Sport Federation
- Minigolf Report from the 2012 Oswestry Games Multi-Sport Event

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