Girls dancing and jumping.

The action-packed Festival of Sport kicks off in the Capital today, showcasing a huge variety of physical activities between 6 -19 June.

Hundreds of free events will run during the two week festival across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders and Fife, including taster sessions, demonstrations and competitions to encourage people of all ages to discover the benefits of an active lifestyle.

The 2011 programme is bigger and better than ever and is designed to appeal to all age groups, fitness levels and abilities. Some of the many highlights including sword fencing, a surf morning at Belhaven Beach, roller hockey, orienteering and even a ski club open evening.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, Festival and Events Champion, said: “This looks set to be another great year for the Festival of Sport with so many free local opportunities for everyone to take part and learn about the many ways to be active. I am delighted to see the Festival expand this year through working with our neighbouring authorities, giving everyone in the East of Scotland the chance to enjoy a part of the action close to home.

“The Festival of Sport is an important part of the Council’s legacy programme, building excitement in Edinburgh ahead of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Whether you fancy volleyball, golf or fencing – there are heaps of activities to choose from. I’d encourage everyone to get out there and try something new during this year’s packed Festival of Sport programme of events.”

Shelagh Jackson, Legacy Officer for Edinburgh Leisure, said: “Edinburgh Leisure is delighted to be supporting the 2011 Festival Sport: a fortnight of fun which offers everyone the chance to take part in a huge range of sports on their doorstep, as excitement builds towards the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. My colleagues and I look forward to encouraging as many people across Edinburgh get involved and get active.”

The extended programme opens up more opportunities for young people with disabilities, with activities such as table tennis, athletics and wheelchair basketball.

There are also many other large group and spectator events running in the festival such as the Moonwalk, Race for Life, the Cycling Grand Prix and the uniquely action-packed Roller Girls Derby. We told you about the Auld Reekie Roller Girls here.

The key partners in delivering the event include the six local authorities across the East of Scotland, Edinburgh Leisure, ClubSportEdinburgh and sportscotland.

The Festival of Sport is one of only 15 events in Scotland to have been awarded the Inspire Mark. The Inspire programme is run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the London 2012 Games – a broad participation programme spanning sport participation, education, sustainability, volunteering, business opportunities and skills. New opportunities are being created to inspire young people and encourage the whole of the UK to join in.

The Festival, now in its third year, showcases the variety of opportunities to get active through the city’s sport clubs and facilities. As an integral part of the Activcity year-round programme, it encourages residents and visitors to have a more active and healthy lifestyle.

The full programme of events is available at, with daily updates throughout the festival also available on Facebook.