By Kamran Khan
In the current COVID-19 situation, a live Webinar was organized by Kafka Welfare Organization Pakistan to celebrate ‘International Day of Sports for Development and Peace’ 6 April 2020. Sports Professionals and researchers have participated from 10 different countries. Umair Asif Founder Kafka Welfare Organization (also a member of UNESCO Task Force on Sports) and Gobinath Sivarajah from the National Olympic Committee Sri Lanka moderated the session. Caroline Baxter Tresise (Australia), Dana Haider Touran (Jordan), Eduardo Butter (Brazil), Nicolas Teran (Ecuador), Benazir Meera (India), Cecilia Saraee (Sweden), Dan Gudgeon (UK) and Derrick Charway (Ghana) spoke on the occasion. All speakers talked about the role of sports and its values in the current Corona situation and presented different ideas on how sportspersons/athletes can play their role to improve the mental health of common people during the global disaster.
Further, the speakers have elaborated that sports and physical activities are the best available tool to engage yourself in quarantine to take care of your mental well-being. In addition, it is time to use positive sports values such as solidarity, integrity, responsibility, and understanding to morally support each other and stand together while not standing together. Moreover, sports leaders and role models should come forward and take responsibility, as they are the ones who can motivate and educate people through virtual platforms in such an epidemic situation.
In August 2013, the UN General Assembly made the decision to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The adoption of this Day signifies the increasing recognition by the UN of the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.
Meanwhile, the participants highlighted different points which are:
Umair Asif (Pakistan) said, “6 April highlights the social side of sports and it promotes peace and tolerance part of games that needs more limelight in our systems.”
“Professional athletes play a big role as well in the awareness part, by spreading positive messages, simple challenges and home workouts. In the end, we are facing the same enemy each part of the society can have a positive addition, that will help the world in a way or another.” Said by Dana Haider Touran-Youth Olympic Medalist from Women Taekwondo Jordan
“Adults all over the world are now facing the challenge: what to do with their kids at home? Streaming platforms and videogames might work for a few hours, but children must spend their energy and stay active. We should value Physical Education more than ever.” Eduardo Butter Sports Leader from Brazil
“During challenging times like this, it is vital for us as educators, to make the most use of technology to impart knowledge and resources to parents and families of children with special needs”. Said by Benazir Meera Ph.D. scholar the University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
“Now it is time to put on practice the sport values that we teach so much to children in sport. After an emergency the sports actors have to work in their own communities focusing on sport values as solidarity, teamwork, discipline, emphasizing this work in vulnerable groups.” Said by Nicolas Teran Girls Soccer Coach and a sociologist from Ecuador
We believe that the careful utilization of sport and experiencing cooperation and conflict through team games can be a piece in a larger puzzle of peacebuilding endeavors. The current situation with corona reminds us that sport cannot solve every problem in the world and to overstate its utility damages the field’s legitimacy. Dan Gudgeon- Football 4 Peace South Korea