International day of sport for development and peace

Date: 06 April 2020

There is little doubt about how sports has contributed to the development of the world from all perspective of human endeavours. From recent examples of how tennis stars raised millions of dollars to address the havoc caused by the 2019 Australia bush fire to using the 1995 Rugby World Cup to mark the end of Apartheid and to unite the people of South Africa to long-standing campaigns and activities of how individuals and organizations have used sports to promote education, social cohesion, fight stigmatization and discrimination to bringing economic freedom and empowerment to many especially people from poverty afflicted communities and countries, Sports has done so much to promote development and peace than I can ever enumerate or appreciate, it is a story that can best be related by the millions of people it has impacted.

Given the above contributions of sports to global development, the United Nations General Assembly with the support of International Olympic Committee on the 23rd August 2013 in Resolution 67/296 proclaimed the 6th of April as the “International Day of Sports for Development and Peace” as a day set aside to globally celebrate the power of sport to drive social change, promote community development and to foster peace and understanding throughout the world.

Notwithstanding all the contributions of sports in propelling development and peace around the globe, who will have to believe that there will come a time where throughout the world, from the smallest village to city parks to national arenas, there will be a halt on all sporting activities? With the outbreak of the Corona Virus Pandemic (COVID-19) spreading very fast to all countries killing thousands of people in alarming rate where social distancing and lockdowns have become some of the measures imposed by countries to stop the spread of the virus leading to the closure of courts, gyms, stadiums, public pools, dance studios and playgrounds around the world.

Truth be told, Sports is on a time out, a half time, or whatever it can be termed using any sporting vocabulary, whilst it is a very sad reality that children can no longer play together on the playground, that livelihoods are lost, great sporting events around the world have been postponed to God knows when and the fact that the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom hall, balcony, basement and the house garden have now replaced the gym, the court, the field and the pool, nevertheless it is still appropriate in such troubling time, that we pause to reflect and to celebrate the day in whatever form we can from our various places of isolation, quarantine or lockdown to appreciate how sports has contributed to the development of the world and advancement of peace from an individual perspective to our circles, countries and the world at large and to even reflect on how sports can contribute to defeating this pandemic.

It is, however, consoling to recall that the world has been through different pandemics and crisis and has survived it; the world survived the first and second world war, we survived the Black Death that took place from 1346 to 1353 killing between 75 and 200 million people, we have survived different economic crisis, we have brought the HIV/AIDS pandemic under control that those infected go on to live productive lives, different flu with different names have come and gone and the cholera pandemic is not lost on us but one way or the other the world has survived all these devastating occurrences which provide great assurance that we can pass through this very one, COVID-19.

For sure the World will soon be on its way to recover from this very pandemic but as the world goes through this troubling time I will like to entreat all to #BeAtive and healthy to beat #COVID-19, we are in a global competition against this virus and together as a team, we can surely beat it.

#StayHome and always wash your hands, avoid touching your face whilst practicing social distancing.

Happy International Day of Sports for Development and Peace.