The efficacy of sports in unifying a people with varying backgrounds and ethnocultural ideologies is out of the ordinary.
All around the world, sport is a nostrum to quell disparities between people of different groups, and sound the bells of equality across social strata.
In 1978, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), labelled sports and physical education as a “fundamental right for all.”
Yet, in many regions across the world, the right to access and participate in sport has too often been neglected.
For decades, the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations have leveraged on sports as a universal tool to effect social stability across religious and cultural boundaries.
One of the many sporting events put in place by both organizations, to improve health, education and economic and social development, is the Olympic Games.
So far, Nigeria has participated in 16 Olympic games, and have won a total of 25 medals (3 gold, 10 silver, 12 bronze).
April 6th: IDSDP
Seeing the great need to spread the word and educate the world on the importance of sports to peace and development, on August 23, 2013, the UN declared that the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace would be observed on April 6, each year.
The date also commemorates the opening of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.
IDSDP promotes healthy lifestyles, tolerance and understanding between people of different ethnicities through sports.
Its innate features such as teamwork, respect for the game and opponents, discipline and fairness are understood across racial boundaries, and can be utilized in fostering unanimity, social acceptance and tranquil coexistence.
On April 6, some of the world’s foremost sports persons and organisations partner with communities to bring sporting events and opportunities to empower lives, especially children.
In the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Sports Development, the role of sports in social progress is further recognized.
“Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”
Featured image source: CESIE