Children ought to enjoy sports
2012 London Olympics Organising Committee Chair Lord Sebastian Coe says the International Inspiration Program is part of pledge they made when bidding to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
The inclusion of sports in formal education for young people has the power to improve the way people live their lives.
Through the International Inspiration Program, the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has reached over 12 million children and young people across the globe. The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic LOC Chair Lord Sebastian Coe revealed during a recent interview with www.africanathletics.org.
The program is active in nine African. These are Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Eight Asian countries are participating in this initiative. They are Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The program is also active in the Americas in Brazil as well as Trinidad and Tobago. Palau in the Oceania region is featured in the program. In this first segment of our series we shed light on the program in Brazil.
AFRICAN ATHLETICS: What is the thinking behind the London Olympic and Paralympics LOC getting involved with this program?
LORD COE: This is in fulfillment of our pledge when we made the bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Our goal is to combine sports with formal education for a better future for young people. Getting children and young people to actively participate in sports can and ought to build bridges among communities.
AFRICAN ATHLETICS: What is the scope of the International Initiative Program in Rio de Janeiro, especially now that the city will host the 2016 Olympics?
LORD COE: Our goal is to attract young school going children to sports in the context of formal education. Only those enrolled for formal education are allowed to participate in the program.
Getting young people off the street and away from anti social activities is a cornerstone of the program. Offering them education combined with sports and physical activities offers them a better chance in life.
AFRICAN ATHLETICS: How do you operate this program in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil considering that most Brazilians speak Portuguese and not English?
LORD COE: We work in partnership with three key stakeholders in every country in which the program is in progress. They are policy makers, sporting practitioners and the young people themselves.
So in Rio de Janeiro we have teachers, young leaders, trained to lead sports physical education in the communities. Rio de Janeiro has a partnership with the London in this program. Lesson learnt in one city can be replicated in the other.
AFRICAN ATHLETICS: Given the magnitude of the Olympic Games the event will always be staged in a major city. Major cities worldwide are known to attract an underclass that lives on the margin of a country’s economic life. So how can the London Olympics team convince the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to make this program a prerequisite for cities bidding to host future Olympics?
LORD COE: This program was an initiative of our 2012 London Olympic and Paralympics bid team. However this does not mean it should end with London. It is now up to other cities who will bid to host future Olympics and Paralympics to decide if they would like to incorporate such an initiative in their respective bids.
Filed under: 2012 London Olympics