YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM William Graham

First published in News

SPORTS fans are going to enjoy a spectacular summer with events ranging from the Wales rugby tour of South Africa, the Commonwealth Games, the cricket test series against Sri Lanka and India the World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup (to be played in Cardiff); together with regular annual events such as Wimbledon, the Open golf tournaments and Royal Ascot.

Sporting events impact upon our lives in many ways, but I wish to focus upon two of them.

They provide us with role models. They highlight the dedication, self discipline, a single-minded approach to lifestyle and training; together with inspiration and aspiration to achieve – as an individual sportsperson or as a team member.

Each and every one of them describes an ambition to succeed and illustrate many characteristics that we should seek to include into our everyday routines in both of working and personal life.

They provide us with opportunities to create businesses, to attract investment into our communities and to sustain employment. One-off sport events, such as the Ryder Cup, do allow the ‘eyes of the world’ a view of our region. They enable us to clearly show our skills for organising and presenting events, our transport infrastructure and the facilities we offer to host, accommodate and entertain.

However, it is the long term success of our sports teams that enable us to realise the opportunities to develop businesses and services which not only meet the needs of spectators, but also enhance the employment and social lives of local residents.

Businesses such as specialist sports shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants have the continuing ‘footfall’ of customers for them to flourish; we have the requirement to implement integrated public transport systems. These combine to provide an image of our region and a quality of life that can appeal to those seeking to locate or expand their businesses.

We all have more than one reason for wishing every success for the 2014-15 season for the Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport County; and all the teams that represent and raise the profile of our region. I would urge everyone to consider attending a match at Rodney Parade this season, to support a local team and support our local businesses.

Supporting a local team brings us in a circle back to the admiration of a favourite sportsperson. If we follow the example they give to us with regard to self discipline and lifestyle, we may also achieve an enhanced quality to our academic, vocational and personal lives – and maybe the vision to spot a niche market and to create a needed business or voluntary service.

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