Third IEC Cup for Blacktown

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One of the highlights of the AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural calendar, the annual Intensive English Centre Cup, will be held on Wednesday in Western Sydney.

This will be the third instance of the event, where students from non-English speaking backgrounds get the opportunity to play modified games of AFL for several hours.

Run by AFL NSW/ACT, the multicultural program has been teaching AFL to thousands of kids in a number of intensive English classrooms for the past four years.

The IEC Cup is the culmination of a program that assists new migrants and refugees to learn about Australian sporting culture in a fun and friendly environment, helping them to build confidence and be active.

The IEC Cup day, the largest of its kind in the country, provides a platform for participants to meet new people and share their experiences.

The majority of participants, most of whom have Middle Eastern, Sudanese, or Polynesian backgrounds, have never been exposed to the Australia's indigenous game, and teaching methods must be adapted to reflect this.

"In teaching these children, we equate a lot of aspects of AFL with soccer, as that's the game the vast majority of children are most familiar with," says AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Program Coordinator Setanta O'Hailpin.

"They pick up the game really quickly, and it's very rewarding to see the children's excitement as they learn new skills and improve.

"I can relate to the children as I didn't grow up with the game, but had natural athleticism and adapted, and athleticism is something these children have in spades, so there will be a lot of exciting football at the IEC Cup!"

Six teams will be competing, comprised of children aged 14 to 20, with the first match kicking off at 10am at Blacktown International Sports Park.

GWS GIANTS stars Jeremy Cameron and Devon Smith will drop in at 11:30 to meet participants and sign autographs.

The IEC Cup also falls in line with National Refugee Week, held from Sunday to Saturday of the week which includes 20 June (World Refugee Day).

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