The Portimão ‘More Sports for All’ campaign picture

Portimão City of Sport 2019

For 2019, Portimão has the honour of being a European City of Sport. Having competed against other cities, Portimão won the award due to its sports programmes which are aimed at encouraging all the city’s citizens to become more health conscious and active.

The award was given after a rigorous assessment process by the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES Europe) and is awarded to a city or town which has between 25,000 and 500,000 inhabitants.

ACES is a non-profit federation based in Brussels which has granted sports awards for European Capital of Sport (which will be Lisbon in 2021), European City of Sport and European Town of Sport, every year since 2001. These prestigious awards can bring international recognition and co-operation between the members of the federation.

Portimão is one of 18 cities awarded for 2019 and now has to set an example in promoting sports for everyone during the next 12 months.

The president of Portimão council, Isilda Gomes, stated that the city will do everything to maintain the enthusiasm seen amongst the population during last year’s award application process and believes that sport can improve the quality of life for Portimão’s citizens of all ages.

The opening ceremony for Portimão City of Sport – More Sports for All takes place on Friday, January 18 in the Portimão Arena at 9pm. There will be a multimedia and videomapping show and special guests Olympic European and world champion runner Rosa Mota and national champion runner and Paralympic athlete Jorge Pina. Musicians Daniel Pereira Cristo, Marisa Liz and Amor Electro will be providing the music. Entry is free but there are limited places.

The city already has a notable infrastructure and venues for hosting international, national and regional high-profile sports events such as the World Superbike, the Powerboat Racing World Championship and the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup, amongst many others. Hundreds of new activities are planned for 2019 and the full programme can be seen at

Health clubs, gyms and sports stadiums are all getting involved and welcoming the public. Whilst many of the events are for spectators, it is important for the population to also have the opportunity to partake in sporting activities.

Exercise is vital to our wellbeing and health. The heart is a muscle that needs to be worked and doing any form of exercise improves cardiovascular health thus lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes. Exercise also improves joint flexibility and muscular strength, reduces blood pressure and can help to manage weight.

Therefore, as part of the ‘Sports for All’ programme, there are many open days, classes, meetings and health information courses planned for people to join in. Yoga, chess, walking, water sports, cycling and motor biking, dancing, skydiving, combat sports, football, there is something for everyone.

Many local public and private companies, social, youth and cultural clubs, local schools and universities are also getting involved, by either sponsoring or organising sports-related activities which are to take place all over the Portimão municipality, at sports centres and gyms, the riverside, the airfield, Algarve International Circuit, the library and the museum.

I recently met with António Serra and his wife Olga Godinho, who own the art gallery Galeria XXI Arte e Molduras in Portimão and who always try to be involved in their city’s ventures and social causes. They decided to join in the city’s excitement by launching projects to bring together art and sport.

The gallery opened in 2001 and its objective is to promote and commercialise national and international contemporary art, with particular emphasis on painting and photography. It also offers a framing service and is well worth a visit!

Ardent Portimão supporters, António and Olga enthusiastically explained their three projects to involve local artists in the sports theme for the region.

The first project is to create murals around the city depicting sporting activities. The first one was completed last year and was painted by Sílvio Gomes who interestingly always has a drop of water incorporated into all his paintings.

The golf setting reflects the importance of the sport in the Algarve and the sponsors are depicted subtly in the airplane banner, signpost on the tree and golfers’ clothes!

António and Olga are looking for more sponsors who can offer their walls for painting or funds for the site preparation and art materials. All sponsors will be discreetly shown within the murals. Perhaps there is an established artist who would like to get involved who can suggest a suitable mural site and paint it!

The second project is being organised by Olga who is a maths teacher at a local secondary school. The government has now made it obligatory for schools to include in their curriculum projects that involve the students, parents and the community.

Due to her connection with the Galeria XXI, Olga is currently in discussions with the local council for the availability of a large wall on the riverfront, where she plans to work with nearly 100 students to create a ‘sport meets art’ mural. Maths will also feature in the project as the students work out areas, sizes and angles!

The final project is for artists to sign up to create a sports picture on canvas and António plans to hold exhibitions of these artworks around Portimão, in restaurants and hotels, not only to involve these members of the community who otherwise might not have the opportunity to be part of the Portimão City of Sport experience, but to also promote the artists and hopefully sell their art!

January is when many people make the New Year resolution to start exercising, so Portimão’s ‘Sports for All’ gives the population the encouragement to begin or continue to improve their health through sports.

It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise alone so joining a local club or gym can be inspiring and it is also a good way to make friends no matter your age or how fit /unfit you are.

Did you know that there are fitness parks in many Algarvean towns which have outside free gym equipment such as rowing or step machines and stationary bicycles? Ask for information in the local council.

Assault courses with exercise programmes are set in some of the town’s parks like the Parque da Juventude in Portimão, Fontes de Estombar in Lagoa or Silves riverfront, therefore there really is no excuse to not exercise! So for this year, make an effort to do more. Join Portimão’s Sport for All … I am!

So now you know!

To join in one of Galeria XXI’s projects contact António on
918 708 484 or visit the gallery at R. Dom Carlos I 36C,
8500-607 Portimão

António and Olga are looking for sponsors!
Do you have a wall for a mural?
Galeria XXI
Portimão Arena
Praia da Rocha, a popular sports beach
Swimmming at the Mexilhoeira Grande Sports Complex
The Portimão ‘More Sports for All’ campaign picture