This year's sportinfra took place at the premises of the Hessian regional sports association on November 16 – 17, 2016. This sixth event in the two-day trade conference series was held under the motto "Ways towards sustainable sports facilities and exercise areas – cooperation, financing, modernising." The around 1000 visitors to the event attended numerous expert forums and visited the accompanying trade show with 63 different exhibitors. A colourful and cheerful evening programme on the first day rounded off the whole event.
It is a major project realised every two years by the Hessian regional sports association in Germany: the sportinfra event attracts a large number of visitors, exhibitors and expert speakers to Frankfurt am Main; not only from the Hesse region, but from all over Germany and even from neighbouring countries. Their, in some cases, long journeys were well worth it again this year: With a comprehensive range of topics, the sportinfra offered a varied programme concerning sports facilities, exercise areas and club work.
Sports fields, playgrounds, exercise areas and more
A total of 13 expert forums and 5 special events were available to sportinfra visitors. As in previous years, focus was of course on sports facilities, and several of the presentations were concerned with different sports field surfaces, their components, care and sustainable benefits. Participants were provided with not only comprehensive information about artificial and natural turf, but the latest kinds of playing surfaces such as hybrid sports turf were also presented. Other presentations involved sport halls, swimming baths or safety management. For the first time, the topic of trend sport was given a specific special event where new-fashioned sports and their facilities were presented. The playground topic, presented in two different forums, was very interesting for many planners and community representatives. On the first day the "exercise-friendly playground" was focussed on, while on the second day the topic of general playground design was discussed. The aspect of "Sustainability" as given in the title of the event was represented in an ecological sense by the trade forums "Drinking water hygiene in sports facilities" and "Energetic modernisation of sports facilities". Along with the many topics covering sport and exercise facilities, the many club representatives were also provided with comprehensive information on club topics, the work of the association and given the possibility to attend a "sport discussion" by the regional association.
In order to present the whole sportinfra topic range in a sustainable and varied way, a large number of speakers from various expert fields made up the programme. Representatives from politics and science made presentations along with club members, planners, company representatives and athletes. The quality and fame of the speakers was consistently high, whether representatives of sport associations, university professors or football world champion Thomas Berthold; and associations such as the FLL and IAKS played just as active a part as Playground + Landscape in organising the individual expert forums. Overall, this resulted in a really varied and high-quality conference programme.
Sports facility trade fair shows continual growth
This year again, the accompanying sports facility trade fair showed further growth and a total of 63 different exhibitors were welcomed to the sportinfra. These included many well-known artificial turf or sport and fitness equipment manufacturers, planning and construction companies, lighting system, sports hall flooring manufacturers and many more. Sport associations and the Hessian police were also represented in the exhibition hall which visitors were able to enter free of charge outside of the expert presentations. Many participants took the opportunity to meet with representatives of companies and associations and to discuss or see now and innovative products and planning ideas. The atmosphere of the event was rounded off by the excellent catering provided by the Hessian regional sports association.
Festive evening event as highlight
On the evening of the first event day, the Hessian regional sports association invited visitors, speakers and exhibitors to the sportinfra, to their traditional "Frankfurt Evening". As well as allowing participants to meet each other and engage in relaxed discussion, this get-together also included a varied programme including spectacular acts from Taiwanese Diabolo artist Chu Chuan Ho and Ukrainian handstand acrobat Viktoria Gnatiuk. There was also an informative podium discussion with the Olympic athletes Marina Mohnen (wheelchair basketball) and Christian Reichert (open water swimmer). There were also many action games for the participants to try their hand, including laser shooting and table football. Musical entertainment was provided with an impressive performance by the band "Soulcafe". The Hessian regional sports association provided the cuisine themselves and followed typical regional traditions allowing guests to enjoy Hessian specialities such as "Frankfurter Ribs", "Green Sauce" or "Handkäs mit Musik" (cheese marinated with onions and sauce eaten with bread and butter by hand).
As in earlier events, the sportinfra 2016 was presented at a very high level. The expert discussion forums presented high-quality content and thus added-value for participants from different professional sectors. The wide spectrum of topics presented made it difficult in some cases for visitors to decide which of several exciting presentations to attend. Rounding off the event with an expansive trade exhibition, outstanding catering and an excellent evening event, the Hessian regional sports association proved to be capable of organising such a major event in a very professional way. On this basis, the organisers can confidently look forward to the coming sportinfra 2018.
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