Last update: 11-Dec-2013 5:04 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Sport needs greater role to address crime, violence
The United Nations (UN) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have a shared commitment to promote a culture of non violence and peace through sport. The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) is just as keen as the UN and the IOC to advocate, promote and facilitate peace and non violence through sport.
Balancing the competing and at times contradictory demands of high performance, sport for all and the use of sport as a tool to address social needs can be overwhelming for national sport organisations faced with resource limitations and constraints.
There are six global activities that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) devote their time, resources and energy:
Sport for All, Development through Sport, Women and Sport, Education through Sport, Peace through Sport as well as Sport and Environment. It’s not always or only about elite and high performance sport. Olympic and other multi-sport games and the focus on the podium is not the be all and end all of what the Olympic movement is about.
Information available on both the IOC and UN Web sites highlight an historic decision, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly made on August 23, when by consensus an International Day of Sport for Development and Peace was approved.
The Day will be celebrated each year on April 6, by UN member states and other stakeholders.
The IOC and the UN both have a long-standing commitment to using sport as a tool for social change, and have worked together on a wide range of projects, including the organisation of a joint biennial International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development.
The former IOC President Jacques Rogge in his address to the General Assembly after the important decision had been taken said:
“The true worth of sport is determined not by words on paper, but by how sport is practised. Stripped of its values, sport is combat by another name.
“Sport with values is a gateway to cultural understanding, education, health and economic and social development. We have seen the true worth of sport and physical activity many times.
“It helps young people learn the value of self-discipline and goal-setting. It builds self-confidence. It defies gender stereotypes.
“It provides an alternative to conflict and delinquency. It can bring hope and a sense of purpose to refugees, impoverished communities and other people in need. It helps keep young people in school, it brings health.”
The IOC encourages the use of sport as a tool for human development, in particular among young people.
The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace defined sport, for the purposes of development, as “all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organised or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games.”
This definition has since then been accepted by many proponents of Sport for Development and Peace.
According to the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group sport is seen to have the most benefits in:
Health promotion and disease prevention
Promotion of gender equality
Social integration and the development of social capital
Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution
Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalisation of life
Communication and social mobilisation.
Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play.
In light of the high crime rate and the increasing incidents of violence in the school population here in T&T sport needs to play a greater part in the efforts to address crime and violence.
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC. For more information about the IOC, TTOC and the Olympic Games visit www.ttoc.org.
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