1 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Make Sport Part of Education - Sithole

The International Olympic Committee's Director of International Co-operation and Development Tommy Sithole tells Around the Rings the Olympic Movement as a whole must adopt the principles of sport as education.

Sithole spoke to ATR on Tuesday from the sidelines of the 8th World Conference on Sport, Culture and Education in Amsterdam.

He said it's "very clear" the IOC is talking about sport and education, but now it's up to international federations and National Olympic Committees to do so as well.

Of particular concern, he said, is stressing to education and sport ministers the need to make sport a "compulsory" part of education.

"There was a specific mission to them to give more concern for education," he told ATR, noting several troubling developments for sport such as playing fields being converted into non-sporting related infrastructure.

"We think this is critical. One of the biggest problems sport has is getting less and less in curriculums."

According to Sithole, sport and education ministers will meet in Berlin next year to discuss this and other issues as part of a UNESCO conference.

One aspect that was different from previous conferences, he noted, was the greater youth involvement in this edition, a legacy from the 2010 conference in South Africa.

He noted a "cross-section" of youths from throughout the Olympic Movement participated in Amsterdam.

Additionally, the Libyan Olympic Committee had a presentation of its own.

"They are using Olympic education, sport, to bring back sanity to the community," Sithole said.

"[The IOC has] done that before. This was different; this was the National Olympic Committee saying 'Can we do more?' They are out there running and engaging young people."

At the end of the conference, the 500 delegates approved a "call to action" for authorities to mandate further increases in the use of sport as education.

"Our task at this Conference was to seek new and better ways to share the Olympic values and the benefits of sport with young people around the world," IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

"We need to speak to young people in their language and we need to go where they are, physically, but also in the virtual world on social media platforms. We have accomplished a lot this week in a very interactive and stimulating environment, and the Amsterdam Declaration will guide us in our way forward."

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