On September 3 and 4, the second BeActive Beach Games took place on the beach of Portimao in southern Portugal. Almost 400 participants tried their hand at 20 different sports activities, while families from across Europe competed in the Family Cup. The event in Portugal is a continuation of the project to promote active recreation on the beach – on July 23-24, the games were held in Ventspils.

In the Beach Games organized by the Latvian Sports Federations Council (LSFP) and the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth (Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude (IPDJ)), every passer-by and beachgoer could try beach volleyball or handball, pilates, yoga or body balance, beach tennis or football for free. Families could enjoy playing frisbee or flying saucer, while the elderly engaged in group fitness and martial arts adapted to their abilities. Such activities as standup paddleboarding (SUP) and canoeing, swimming challenges, surfing and bodyboarding(a water sport in which the surfer rides a bodyboard on a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore) became very popular in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

On the first day of the games, the European Family Cup was held, which brought together families from Portugal, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Turkey. After the warm-up dance, the families went to perform 12 tasks, testing their cooperation and communication skills, physical endurance, and other abilities. The Martins de Cruz family from Lisbon participated in the games for the first time and showed the best results in water tasks: “My sister and I do triathlons, so we were the best at all the water tasks. But in general we liked the variety of games – there were tasks that had to be performed in the water and on the sand, and one could try various sports activities.” Team captain André Sousa adds: “Our family was focused on winning, but the game spirit and positive atmosphere were no less satisfying.”

The second day started with a 5 km race for individual runners or families (participants could also walk at a walking pace), as well as the water and beach activities of the first day continued at the same time. The Head of the “Sports for All” Department of the Portuguese Institute for Sports and Youth, Paulo Rocha, who also ran together with the participants, expressed his joy about the fact that on both days there was great interest from the elderly generation: “The developed model of Beach Games makes it possible to involve the elderly, families with children, people with motor and functional disabilities, as well as those who do not have access to sports clubs or have fewer opportunities to do sports.” He explains: “The goal of the Games is to change the understanding of how recreation on the beach is usually perceived – it is not just lying in the sun and swimming. It is an opportunity for beachgoers to improve their health by including some physical activities. In turn, various service providers can create new offers for customers with the right infrastructure and pleasant atmosphere, further proving that playing sports on the beach is a healthy and enjoyable way to spend time.”

In 2019, LSFP, together with seven sports organizations from other countries joined the Erasmus+ project of the European Union to find new ways to attract people to an active lifestyle, including active beach recreation, regardless of their age, health, physical fitness or skills.  

You can find out more about BeActive Beach Games by visiting the social media sites of LSFP and project partners, by following hashtags #BeActiveAtBeach, #BeActive, #LSFP, and on the website www.pludmalesspeles.lv.

BeActive Beach Games are designed to find new ways to attract people, regardless of age, health, fitness or skills, to an active lifestyle on beaches – both natural and artificially created, for example, in the urban environment. The sports games model has been created within the framework of the Erasmus+ project by the Latvian Sports Federations Council in cooperation with other European and international sports organizations. This year, families and representatives of sports organizations from nearly ten other European countries come to Ventspils for beach sports games to expand the movement of beach sports in their countries.