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Posted 20th August 2012, 16:46 in
Olympic News

Teams Ready For Forest Pitch Matches

The training sessions are complete and the Forest Pitch teams are ready for their big matches in a woodland arena near Selkirk.

The games are due to take place on Saturday, 25 August between two women’s teams called Corinth and Delphi and two men’s sides Nemea and Olympia – the names of the locations of the original Pan-Hellenic games of Ancient Greece.

Many of the players are new Scots, among them people who have escaped murder at the hands of the Taliban or Iraqi death squads. There are also people drawn to Scotland for reasons of love, work or study.

Following the last training session, in Glasgow at the weekend, some of the players got together for photos in order to introduce themselves to people in the Borders, and to the spectators who are expected from all over Scotland, on the match day.

Craig Coulthard, the artist behind Forest Pitch, said: “It’s amazing the way that the teams have welded together, from such a mixture of footballing experience.

“Their backgrounds are astonishingly diverse – a real flavour of the mix we see in the Olympics and Paralympics – with Egyptians, Iraqis and Afghans playing alongside South and North Americans, Australians and Africans. 

“It shows the unifying power of sport and is a real reflection of the affections people have for Scotland as a generous society that welcomes new people, skills and ideas.

“The teams are all really looking forward to the matches, and the opportunity to be part of a project which is one of Scotland’s biggest contributions to the Cultural Olympiad which is running alongside the Olympic and Paralympic games.”

The matches are part of an exploration of modern Scottish identity and culture at a critical turning point in the country’s history. They also celebrate the spirit of the modern Olympics and look back to the ancient games.

But the project is much wider and will yield a film and a book. It is also an environmental arts project. The white lines of the temporary pitch, that Craig has created in a commercial spruce plantation, will be replanted with a variety of native trees and will evolve into a living sculpture which people can visit and enjoy for decades to come.

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