Archive for the 'Sport' Category
Wind Assisted Wonders On El Medano Launch Pad

Skimming over the waves or slicing through the air, the 48 pilots on the PWA Windsurfing World Tour tamed nature again and again in El Medano. Always a highlight of my Tenerife sporting calendar this multi coloured spectacle turns the chilled out surfers paradise into the place to be for a week every summer.


It was business as usual at the small sandy beaches stretching away from the English style pier on the Montaña Roja side of town. Families made the most of the beach , receding in the face of the tide, and kite surfers peppered the sky above the sand dunes as others sought shade in cosy promenade cafes. But a turn around the headland and El Cabezo beach saw the wind greet us with full force, the best news we could have hoped for. This year the leading 32 men and 16 women had gathered to enjoy one of the most popular settings for their sport of choice.


The best part of a week is set aside but it often finishes early as they milk every last gust of wind and curl of wave before a lull can leave them frustrated. Two giants have emerged to dominate in recent years and were leading the way again, Philip Koster of Germany bends the elements to his will and Iballa Moreno of Gran Canaria fends off her two challengers, nature and her twin sister Daida. The pit area consists of a reserved space of beach covered in sails and boards between the public viewing zone and the raised judges hut, the nerve centre of the scoring and supervision. Each rider gets a two minute slot to showcase their best moves riding the waves or twisting the weighty board and sail combo up into the howling winds.


I was constantly mopping the spray from my camera lens as I admired the sheer strength needed to drag their mounts out into the water and then tack into the breeze to get a good run across the bay. The official window cleaner for the scoring hut was kept busy wiping the glass to ensure the judges the best of views while others perched on rocks or at the improved spectators seating near the presentation tent and food point. The international appeal of the sport is reflected in the venues, next up are Turkey and Poland, and the competitors from as far away as Australia, Hungary and the UK, I caught up with Sarah Bibby from Plymouth, pictured below on the left of Maeli Cherel from Australia.


“ This is my first time here, on the opening two days the weather was ok but it is near perfect now for me with big waves and a lighter wind. This is my first year on the PWA tour and realistically I would be pleased to get in the top ten.” Not that you could call Sarah a novice. “I have been windsurfing for 10 years, I do as much as I can in Cornwall” she came third in a four nations event back there last year and has already won the Australia river wave competition this year. An understanding employer has given her time off to chase the dream this year. “I work for Babcock at Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth docks and have just completed two years of my graduate training programme.”
All the windsurfers take the spills in their stride, I asked Sarah if she had any bad injuries, she just shrugged and casually recalled. “Well I have torn ligaments in both feet and bitten through my lip.”

 

It’s a long and very hot day for the competitors, they have been giving it their all from early morning until dusk at 8.30pm but for many that signals the start of a good natured social life. El Medano is always geared up for informal parties and there are plenty late gatherings with music to enjoy, there’s a special shared bond between the riders and the help and co-operation down at the pits area is very noticeable. There was another reminder of the potential danger of the sea when a swimmer had to be winched up by helicopter at 6pm in the evening, it takes a special breed to tangle with the bigger waves.The PWA elite may move on but there are plenty of keen wave riders all year round in El Medano just loving every wet, adrenaline filled moment.

 

 

Small Ripples From Beach Water Polo

For a relatively small beach they were certainly packing it in at Puerto Colon, the large inflatable icebergs were being swarmed over by eager young children and the sea was full of swimmers taking a cooling dip. But it was the fourth International Beach Water polo Tournament that had attracted me along the coast on a baking hot afternoon.


The floating court was set up on the far side of the bay just below the old El Faro nightclub and the dance music was belting out from the small admin tent set up on the sand. Publicity for this three day event was as ever shockingly poor and few of the sun bathers basking on the beach seemed to have any idea what was taking place although a few of the ladies were showing an interest in the fit swimmers taking to the water in their team coloured budgie smugglers.

During the training games I explored the viewing options on the rocks that reach out close to the court, last year at the Water Ski Racing championships the longer stretch of rocks by the harbour wall was the place to be. I was less than graceful picking my way over the uneven boulders but somehow kept my balance. Up on the side coastal path a steady flow of walkers stopped and took a curious look at the court near the mouth of the bay.


Once it was time for the games to start I thought they would use the PA system to inform and animate the beach users but apart from a few calls to the players it was all banging tunes. Games are played with four players and a goalie on each team over two ten minute halves, the sides had extra players for substitutions but they had to tread water just outside the court while the referee stood on a nearby rock and controlled the game. It’s a fast flowing sport with plenty of goals and hard to keep track of the scoring with no announcements, but the players team coloured caps and numbers helped to keep track of those taking part.


Back on the sand most were oblivious to the action taking place, the African ladies lounged in the shade offering hair braiding and the bars and restaurants were doing a steady trade in cooling down the sun worshippers. The driving force behind the contest was CN Echeyde, based in Santa Cruz, they play in the Spanish professional league. The contest was an ideal time to push their sport and maybe recruit some more players and fans but there wasn’t much there to encourage any of the curious. The action goes on through Saturday until 8pm and concludes on Sunday from 9 am until the grand final at 2 pm. I will be back for more and to see if it captures the imagination of the public and stirs them from their sun beds.

Run Jump Throw And Hurdle, It’s Arona Combined Events Athletics

Was the Fosberry Flop a jump in athletics, a punk band, or something I tried to cook once? I’m sure it was athletics and it flicked through my memory as I sat on the grass watching young ladies hurling themselves over an ever rising bar at the Arona Combined Events meeting in Playa de Las Americas. The Estadio Antonio Dominguez is where I normally watch CD Marino so it felt good to be there, especially after enjoying last years event so much.


This years appeal was stronger than ever with athletes drawn from as far away as Qatar, Australia, Estonia, and eight from Great Britain. I arrived on Saturday morning for the sprint races and the stadium was buzzing with activity as the volunteer marshals and stewards ensured the smooth running of the heats. It was nice to grab a quick chat with Grace Clements who I interviewed last year, she is on course to qualify for this years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an event that was on many minds over the two days of competition.


One of the late confirmations was Katarina Johnson Thompson  (above ) from Liverpool, she wasn’t a full competitor, just training, but she still scorched to the front in her heptathlon 100 metres with a personal best. That was another positive step towards Glasgow with a big meeting in Austria hot on its heels. The long jump was going on in between the sprints and Peter Glass and Martin Brockman came thundering down the run up before launching themselves into the sand pit.


Over at the Green Hospital end there was a tense contest between the women in the high jump, including Grace Clements (above red ) and  Jess Taylor (below yellow) .This fascinates me as they have very differing styles of run up, Australian Lauren Foote and Estonian Mari Klaup had a very short sharp run up but most were measuring out big strides before taking off.


At this stage I must give Mari Klaup a special mention in the fashion stakes, her skull and crossbones wrap made me giggle but it kept her warm on a weekend when the sun was playing hide and seek. Arona Athletics Club is the biggest in Tenerife and they were holding a junior open championship in between the main event, it was great for the youngsters to mix with top athletes in front of a very healthy crowd. As I left for the afternoon break I saw the medals and trophies being given out, quite a glittering array.


Back later for the evening session I got to see some shot putt action, lots of grunting and groaning as they threw, but once I stopped that it was nice and quiet for them. More sprints rounded off the day as the sun gave way to the floodlights. I took the chance to interrupt my walk home with a few beers but didn’t go mad and chase my personal best. Sunday morning I was back for CD Marino, the athletics was put back to fit it all in, I was very impressed how quickly after the match they dismantled one of the goals, laid all the cables for the commentary from the various competition points, and put out the banners, hurdles, and measurement marks for the discuss.

As all the activity was going on I grabbed a few words with Richard Reeks from Poole, a decathlete serving with the Royal Navy.
“This is an important time in my season, three decathletes will go to Glasgow and two are already through so I am battling it out with Martin Brockman. A few of the other GB athletes were here last year so I knew it would be a good tournament to push me on, they have been looking after us well and have made the smaller (Anexo) stadium available to us for extra training during the event. I hope to make Glasgow and then look onwards to the Olympics in Brazil, I’m lucky that the Navy let me pursue my sport as a full time athlete (he wore his Royal Navy sweatshirt with pride between events) and they have been very supportive.”

Thankfully I was able to see Richard (white vest), Martin (middle red), and Peter Glass (above red) of Northern Ireland attack the hurdles before I had to sneak off to see CD Tenerife’s away game on TV. The men’s decathlon was won by Florian Geffrouais of France with Martin Brockman second. The women’s heptathlon went to Marisa de Ancieto with Jess Taylor taking third spot. I will be carefully watching the Commonwealth Games this year and hoping that Arona played its part in helping many of the participants to reach the big stage.

 

Horses For Courses Above Los Cristianos

The thunder of hooves, the clouds of dust, and the intricate skills of horse riders added a new chapter to my sporting memories as I enjoyed the Sortija de Caballos on the side of Montaña Chayofita.

For many it’s just that small mound above Los Cristianos beach with the unfinished building, many others like myself have used it as a nice warm up walk when the urge to go hiking comes knocking. But on this Saturday afternoon I wasn’t quite sure what I would find as I took the track just above the ring road. I imagined a parade and the odd race of a few horses but it was much better organized than that and backed by Arona Deportes.

A paddock area had been set up with horse boxes containing 20 horses eager to get out and stretch their legs. A few people I spoke to told me these events happen a lot in the north of Tenerife, the last being in Arafo. A partially built road was the track and on a frame set up over it there were small coloured ribbons to be plucked off in mid gallop. This was the main competition to be followed by straight forward races, riders registered at the announcer’s box where trophies awaited. It was more about the challenge than any big rewards but there was plenty of food to be won for the horses – well it was a big day for them too. A large snack and drink van was set up and helped the relaxed, friendly feel to the competition,

After plenty of warm up gallops the riders went down to the lower end of the hill  and charged up as the riders tried to snatch the ribbons in that brief spell they were reachable. It looked very difficult but some made light work of it. The horses looked wonderful, a mix of power and beauty and clearly well looked after.

There was a decent crowd, many of them obviously knew each other from similar events, a few curious walkers hung around to enjoy the spectacle, and hopefully some of the others had responded after seeing my preview in The Tenerife Weekly. I should imagine there was a good few drinks enjoyed later on as stories were swapped, for me it was a new experience and I will be looking out for future meetings.

Basketball Bounces South For Adeje International

Someone had their tail up, or something, I couldn’t quite work out what animal the mascot was meant to be at the Las Torres sports centre in Adeje for a pre season basketball friendly between CB Canarias and Frankfurt Skyliners. On reflection I reckon it was a dog, frisky and with a small tail it cavorted around the edge of the court as the teams warmed up, at least it didn’t try to mark out the corners in a unique canine way.

I managed to see a CB Canarias game at their La Laguna home Pabellon Santiago Martin, back in January and was impressed at their winning performance and 4,000 crowd. This rare visit to the south wasn’t officially announced until three days in advance, all tickets were a bargain three euros and around 600 people, they could have fitted another 200 maybe, took their seating above the court. Goodie bags were exchanged pre game and the teams set off at a cracking pace as spare players stretched and thrusted on the sidelines.

This is a good time to confess that my knowledge of the sport is pretty basic but the four quarters are 10 minutes playing time each with stoppages stretching that to around double. The two teams play in the top leagues of Spain and Germany but have a few imports, mainly American to bolster the squad. Half way into the first quarter Fotios Lampropoulos of CB Canarias crashed to the floor after a knock from an opponent, he was clearly in great pain and was carried off for treatment to a badly damaged leg.

One of the unsung jobs surrounding basketball is the sweat moppers, the polished wood floor that makes the trainers squeak as the players move also gets very slippy so two lads at each end were constantly called upon to mop up pools of sweat.

Anyway back to the game, the first two quarters were level 16 and 13 each and CB Canarias nosed in front by three points with the final period to go. During the breaks the local cheer leaders group Tenerife Tigers took to the court to perform their moves, well they have won prizes in international competition. I showed great restraint when they did one turn to the Hawaii Five O theme – an informal anthem of the Armada Sur.

So it was all set up for the final ten minutes, CB Canarias brought out the big guns, Levi Rost was top scorer on the night with 18 points, most of those coming in a late blitz. Luke Sikma is the big summer signing from America, he looked good, but I was very impressed by Mamadou Ndiang by far the tallest on the court, the young Senegal player looks a great prospect.CB Canarias steadily pulled away and a late long basket from Ricardo Uriz underlined their superiority for a 78-60 win. Frankfurt didn’t look too upset, their coach was the coolest man on the court in his grey cord shorts, and thee crowd got top class entertainment with the gate money going to local sports development.

 

On The Edge Of Our Rocks For Worlds Best Waterskiers

No widescreen TV could compete with such a sporting view, the World Waterski Racing Championships were played out on a panoramic course in front of Puerto Colon marina wall with a crystal clear La Gomera looming large in the distance. Mind you the seating was a bit tough on the bottom, after several hours perched on the rough edge of a large rock I seem to now have three buttocks, if I break wind it’s in stereo.

I was impressed that no one slipped down the gaps between the rocks, my new notepad (paper not electronic) did elude my grasp and slip to a watery end but people of all ages were clambering to get the best vantage points. The racing was fantastic, there must be a collective term for water skiers, maybe a balance of. As the midweek action hotted up I got to meet more skiers, drivers, observers, and the barmy families and friends who had paid a fortune to follow their heroes from far flung homes in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. They were a great bunch, the harbour wall had evolved into groups, GB being one of the largest and noisiest, some with awnings to protect them and their merchandise, the costs of this sport are in the tens of thousands so they need all the help they can get.

Australia led the charge from the start and by the third day were ready to clinch some of the titles. Jack Harrison won the Junior Boys title, Rachel Stapleton took the Junior Girls and in the seniors Trudi Stout was a stylish champion of the Open Women while double World Champion Wayne Mawer oozed class as he stormed ahead of the field. The racing was brilliant to watch, up to 30 boats in action at a time and passing close enough to appreciate the power of the engines and the control and skill of the skiers. It’s not just a matter of hanging on to the tow rope, the skier has a harness around their lower back to take the strain and steers with the feet and one hand, easier said than done with the water being churned up by all around them. The unseen heroes are the boat driver and the observer who sits facing the skier to relay instructions.

 

A few boats suffered technical problems and had to pull out but thankfully rider accidents were few. GB were in the wars, Harvey Robinson came adrift and needed an overnight stay in hospital as bruised vertebrae ended his tournament, Marisa Alongi ended up in a leg brace after falling with her knee extended, she was hoping it was just a bone fracture rather than ligament damage but the final verdict will have to wait until she is back in Edinburgh. Even one of the GB supporters picked up a broken leg after a fall at the hotel, I’m assured that no drink was involved.

Saturday arrived with glorious sunshine for the final days racing, we had been threatened with a tickle from the tail of Hurricane Humberto but it veered away. The crowd had grown again, and the boat containers in the pits were taking on an ever more homely feel, some had mini generators, perfect to run a fridge and keep the beer cold. It sent a little shiver through me to see the skiers dipping into wheelie bins full of ice and water, one minute in, one minute out and repeat five times, good for the aching muscles I’m told, maybe it could be a new craze in the clubs of Las Americas?

The Women and Men  F2 titles still needed to be decided. Sarah Teelow fought off her nearest rivals and Ben Gulley made sure the Australian flag dominated with a sixth title. Wayne Mawer was already crowned but he rounded off a superb days racing by winning a thrilling tussle with Todd Haig of the USA. There were still official presentations to be made, just trophies, no money prizes, these are dedicated sportsmen and women. The whole event was a huge success despite patchy advertising, maybe waterski competitions could become a new addition to the Tenerife calendar.

Speed, Power, And Glamour As The World Comes To Puerto Colon

Water skiing always makes me think of the opening sequence for The Persuaders, the 1970’saction series starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. They were skiing along with nonchalant ease as they waved to each other, they looked like they had time to butter a scone each and make a few wisecracks. Swap Monte Carlo for Tenerife and we had the real thing arrive at Puerto Colon, no gently raised eyebrows and smoothly gelled hair but lots of speedboats like growling beasts and 180 dedicated sports enthusiasts. None of your overpaid pampered stars here, their skis might whiz over the waves at up to 180 km per hour but there feet are firmly on the ground.

A trip down to Puerto Colon a week ahead of the races found few signs of the drama to come, a couple of days before the off and it was a little better but in Los Cristianos there was hardly any awareness of the great event. I met Karen Brooks GB captain (below) and she guided me through the busy but good natured pit area introducing me to skiers, drivers, and observers for the boats. It was clear to see that this was a costly affair to run but they finance themselves with what little sponsorship they can muster.

An invite to the GB team meeting at the Hotel Isabel in Fanabe impressed me even further, the mood reminded me of my days following GB Ice Hockey, very limited outside finance but a great spirit of camaraderie and lots of hard working organizers making it all tick. The friendly rivalry between countries was also apparent, New Zealand flags hung of a few balconies overlooking the swimming pool, the notice board showed that the USA team meeting was in one of the competitors rooms, GB had reserved the large saloon bar – one nil to the Brits. There was a buffet and a few cheeky beers laid on and with the families and supporters the team of 34 was swelled to well over a hundred.

On to the parade on the eve of the competition, the plan was for all the teams to meet up at the pits in their best coordinated outfits and a boat from each country would travel up to Adeje with two open top buses for a presentation with the mayor. The teams all scrubbed up well and posed for group shots, the Spain team was typically casual in miss matched shorts and t-shirts, the USA team were a bit late getting dressed and were still adjusting themselves on their boat as it pulled out. Australia were very smart and the GB team looked good with the ladies looking stunning in their red dresses.

I got to chat to some more of the competitors, the New Zealand gang underlined the dedication being poured into the competition by telling me about their long trek to Tenerife. The team flew in from Auckland to Hong Kong (11.30 hours), then to Zurich (12.50 hrs) and finally in to Tenerife (4.30 hours). That was nothing compared to the three month journey their boat, The Beast (below) had to make in its container. Their trusty steed came via the Panama canal, Germany, France, and possibly even Narnia and Atlantis.

Cocktails were provided at the El Galeon sports centre but the competitors were very limited by the early morning start the next day and the fact that random drug testing is taking place throughout the competition. I will update you with more from behind the scenes and don’t forget your free copy of The Tenerife Weekly each Friday for more on the racing.

 

Look Who The Wind Blew In

I don’t know a tweaked pushloop from a goiter or a tabletop forward but I could still appreciate the courage and talent of the worlds best windsurfers as they strutted their stuff at El Cabezo beach in El Medano for the PWA World Cup.

The white caps on the waves as I passed through Golf del Sur and the straining palm trees as my bus drove down into El Medano was enough to ensure me that this fourth day of competition was going to be a real rip roarer. As I turned the corner and approached the pits area and launch zone the wind boxed my ears and slapped a little tune on my face, apparently it was near 40 knots. There didn’t seem as many spectators as previous years but the riders were busy, some fine tuning their boards, others dragging their boards out into the waves, and others flipping and popping between the peaks and troughs of the Atlantic.

To the west kite surfers were doing their thing but all eyes were on the 32 men and 16 women with the sails. The hooter sounded the start of each 12 minute routine as they set out to catch the judges eyes, back on almost dry sand I was just about managing to stand upright and take a few photos between constant wipes to remove the spray from my lens.

There’s always a great social side to the sea based sport of El Medano and a mini village had sprung up with a large marquee and a bar keeping the contestants and fans well watered. I managed to catch a few words with Adam Lewis who I had interviewed the previous week for The Tenerife Weekly, he finished 9th but had a satisfying Tuesday with the best round of the day. The female riders looked good in their official tournament tops, I found three of them relaxing between races. Eva Oude Ophuis (left) from Hungary, Alice Aruntkin from France, and Fanny Aubet also from France looked relaxed and at ease with the prospect of battling nature in front of spectators, cameras, and video coverage.

It all came to a head on Wednesday with the top five male and female battling it out. Congratulations to Philip Koster of Germany for winning and maintaining his stranglehold on the World title, and well done to Daida Ruano from Gran Canaria who shrugged off the challenge of her sister Iballa to win the ladies title. If I ignore anyone in the next few weeks please excuse me I’m still extracting sand from my ears. Big respect to all the windsurfers for putting on a tremendous free show for Tenerife.

 

What, No Egg And Spoon?

Well that gives you a pointer to how bad I was at athletics at school. In the summer months I longed for something easy like the sack race or egg and spoon, instead we got the Triple A tests. Thankfully there were only a few flashbacks to those trying times as I covered the Arona Combined Events for The Tenerife Weekly at the Estadio Olympico, a venue that has become a semi regular call for me when CD Marino are playing.

Jessica Taylor

Jo Rowland

It’s always good to see the experts doing sport properly and an international field included eight GB athletes ready to run, hurdle, vault, jump and much more in the heptathlon, octathlon, and decathlon. The run of cloudy weather had broken and hot sunshine bathed the stadium as I arrived and picked up my rather fetching dark green press bib and went mooching around among the competitors down at trackside.

Martin Brockman

I soon met the GB bunch, they were a nice friendly lot and the ladies 100 metres was just about to get under way so I hung around to check out the GB ladies, purely in a sporting way of course. The organization was good, plenty of back up volunteers, as the runners shed their layers ready for the racing small laundry baskets were filled with each runners gear, that seemed like good service, a free wash and spin. I never realized what a clunking bit of kit the starting blocks are, at school we just had the veiled threat of a sadistic PE teachers boot to inspire us.

100 metres.Grace Clements (2nd from right) Emma Buckett (4 from right).

As I squatted down to get some pics I became aware that the long jump was facing the other way and the first practice runner was thundering down towards the sand pit, I normally go to the beach if I want sand kicked in my face. Martin Brockman and Peter Glass both looked fired up but so did their rivals, Moving to the far end of the stadium for the high jump I noticed the local kids were also slotting their races in between the main events. There were medals galore for the young future stars, featuring local discus champion Mario Pestano’s imposing figure.

The stadium has a thriving athletics club and the facilities are first class, when I am lurking behind the goal to get photos at the CD Marino games I have to resist the urge to have a sneaky bounce on the large padded mattress that catches the high jumpers. There were two jumps going on at once with the ladies propelling themselves over the ever rising bar, again there was an interesting contrast between the short and long run ups and the GB ladies were up there with the leaders, Jessica Taylor, Emma Buckett, and Jo Rowland had great technique.

Emma Buckett

Jessica Taylor

Returning after the afternoon break I got the chance to watch the ladies shot putt, Grace Clement and Jo Rowland were on good form. There were several individual coaches in the crowd signaling useful tips to the ladies and it was noticeable that the GB party were very supportive of each other, those awaiting their next action made sure they gave plenty of encouragement to those competing. At the end of the day Grace Clements kindly made time for me to interview her, everyone thinks after the London Olympics that athletes are up there with other top sports but they have to work hard to get sponsors. Grace had been a teacher but is now doing part time work at her adopted Lee Valley track to support her quest for glory. At least the Arona tournament was able to offer all the competitors three nights free accommodation at the nearby Hotel Noelia Sur.

Grace Clements

Sunday was a busy day for me with the CD Tenerife away promotion decider on TV Canarias in the morning but I managed to sandwich a few more hours of athletics in between that and hitting the south airport to see CDT return. Mens javelin and discus were underway at the stadium, sat on the grass just in front of the launch area for the javelin seemed a good place to be. Harry Sutherland the youngest of the GB group was chasing the points as the competition hotted up. The distances some of these chaps were getting was quite staggering, I thought Roque del Conde might end up looking like a porcupine, the majestic rise of the metal spears was almost hypnotic as they leveled off and then plunged down to impale the grass beyond the centre circle – the groundsman was probably crying somewhere in a darkened room.

Martin Brockman

Harry Sutherland

GB – Emma Buckett, Jo Rowland, Harry Sutherland,Peter Glass, Martin Brockman, Jessica Taylor, Grace Clements

The discus was also going on from inside the netted circle and Mario Pestano was attracting a lot of interest, he is very big in Arona, or anywhere else come to that, but some of the other throwers were truly mammoth power houses. The longer running events were the climax of the day, alas I only got to see the qualifying runs, Harry Sutherland and Roger Skedd had a fair bit of ground to make up, at the final reckoning Martin Brockman was the highest GB male in the decathlon in third but the ladies excelled with Jo Rowland winning the heptathlon closely followed by Grace Clements in second and Jessica Taylor in third. Full marks to all of them and the organizers for such a cracking competition, I now have a renewed admiration for athletics.

 

 

Let’s Get Physical…

…sang Olivia Newton John, and who are we to argue. With that sentiment in mind I put on my Fame leg warmers and popped along to the Arona Maximo Deportes next the Metropolis Centre half way between Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas.

This year the open air fitness and sport extravaganza had retreated back from the sea front to the street behind and was setting up as I arrived a little early for the 11 am start. My promptness was due to a deadline, if I could get photos and a report done quick sticks I could get it in this weeks copy of TheTenerife Weekly. There was a lot of frantic last minute setting up being done but shortly past the appointed hour music blasted forth from the stage and the fuse was lit.

It was a mix of mini courts for basketball and tennis, an inflatable goal and surround football pitch (ideal for today’s breed of constantly falling over superstars) and stalls promoting sailing, motocross, jet skiing, and health drinks and supplements. Those powdered protein meal drinks always remind me of the old Marvel dry milk – what’s wrong with chewing on a side of cow or pig?

My camera has a dirty old man chip and sure enough once the fit and flexible ladies took to the stage to lead the aerobic dancing my camera pulled me towards the mosh pit of eager stretchers and clappers. It made me tired just watching but it did have the desired effect of motivating the crowd and luring more passers by inward to see what was going on.

Lots of young children were having a bash at tennis, basketball, and football, and that can’t be a bad thing. There was a strong commercial element to the event as various gyms and health studios pushed their products but with the council cupboard almost bare these sort of promotions wouldn’t be possible if not for the backing of relevant business’s.

My all too brief stay was an enjoyable one, it was just a pity the event couldn’t be held near the coastal path as last year that drew in lots of passing curious holiday makers and locals. Top marks to the tireless instructors on a very hot day, you can’t beat a bit of bump and grind on a Thursday.