Supporting peace in sports movement around the world
KUWAIT CITY, April 9: The Balsam International in partnership with the Kuwait Sports Club hosted the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace at the Kuwait Sports Club.
This event comes as an initiative adopted by the United Nations during a meeting in 2013 and was officially recognized in 2014.
This year the partnership between the UN and the Peace and Sports Foundation announced all the events are uploaded and registered on the website so that the world can see where such events are being held and what is going on in different countries of the world.
On the world map, the State of Kuwait uploaded the event as one of the countries supporting the peace in sports movement around the world and to show that the country believes in the importance of sports as a tool for peace and development.
Taking part in the event were 250 schoolchildren from schools such as Fahad Al-Askar Elementary School for Boys, Ishbiliya Elementary School for Girls and Nottingham British School. This is in addition to the Abdulaziz Al-Rashed — tri-athlete Najla Aljeraiwi, cyclist and Eman Alkoot, taekwondo champion. There were also participants from the Al-Tomooh Sports Club for Intellectual Disabilities.
Guests at the event were Ambassadors from five countries — South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
The program included welcoming words from the ambassadors who paid importance for their participation in this event. The participants, including the ambassadors, walked/ran around the track together in a walk of peace before the schoolchildren parted into different sports activities which included golf, archery, taekwondo, fencing, baseball and track and field events.
Balsam Al-Ayoub said, “Thirty years ago I was I was one of the participants in the opening ceremony of the Peace and Friendship Cup which was hosted by Kuwait in November 1989.
“This tournament was initiated by Sheikh Fahd Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to break the ice and ease conflict between Iraq and Iran during the war between both countries.
“This was a great initiative which announced that Kuwait was the land of friendship and peace, brotherhood and solidarity which can be achieved through sports.
“On this day, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace we have to always remember the great South African leader Nelson Mandela. This man created the concept of peace in sports and made the concept a reality by uniting South Africans through the organisation of a rugby competition in 1996.
“Nelson Mandela and Sheikh Fahd Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah really inspired the sport in peace movement — these leaders created history and of course we are following in their footsteps in peace in sport,” Balsam said.
The ambassadors taking part in the event said ‘Thank You, Kuwait’ and ‘Thank You, Kuwait Sports Club’ and the sponsors for organizing this event “for inspiring and giving us the chance to be a part of raising the torch and taking part in the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.”
American Ambassador Lawrence R Silverman said, sports creates international unity and it’s a tool for peace and social security, while the British Ambassador Michael Davenport said, sports gathers nations and today we are gathering for peace and sport in the peaceful country of Kuwait.
The French Ambassador Marie Masdupuy went on to say through sport we create sustainability and peace and everything that matters to develop communities and people, while the South African Ambassador MP Bona, described sport as love which promotes goodwill and builds humans and nations. The Australian Ambassador Jonathan Gilbert said, sports is a tool to work against discrimination and accept others with all differences and spread the meaning of humanity that can be reached more effectively through sport.
Khalid Al Ghanim, Vice-President of Kuwait Sports Club believes in the humanity and development of sport dimensions and “we are proud to host and create this international event in Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.”
Dr Ali Dashti, Chairman of KGL said sport is an international language that nations can develop and in KGL “we make sure that we support anything which helps create good character and develop the society and this country because this is our social responsibility.
“I’m so proud that Kuwait has been included in the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace movement and put Kuwait on the international map. This day is filled with events which include more than 90 countries organizing different sports events. This is what we are looking for — to raise the Kuwait flag on the summit and show what a peaceful land Kuwait aims to be,” he said.
The announcement of the United Nations using sport as tool for development and peace gives us the vision and shows us the importance of how sport is a really powerful tool to create peace around the world.
Today when we gathered the school students, champions, trainers, the able and disable bodied champions and ambassadors it shows a small example of how sport can gather us all with no discrimination where we all accept each other with an open heart.
The gathering reflected the true meaning of peace and unity. Today’s event we are not talking about sport as a field of competition only — it is beyond that; it is carrying on the sports conversation that was started by the Olympic movement over 100 years ago and that was to create an arena to display their craft without prejudice, politics, religion or gender discrimination.
With all these politics that we are witnessing today in Kuwait through our sports crises and suspension by the International Olympic Committee, we want to show the world we still support the true meaning of the community of sport and we will always be a part of the international sports movement.
Although we have been suspended from the International Olympic movement or two and a half years we want to create a sports space for future generations to understand that sports will always be sports and if we really believe that we are true champions, our role is to inspire and teach them that sports has nothing to do with politics in the same way that I learnt 30 years ago from the Peace and Friendship Cup.
This is the legacy from international leaders that I want to pass on to the youth of Kuwait.