Sport has a unique power to attract, mobilize and inspire. These qualities were promoted last weekend by the Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA) and partners Barbados Lottery, UNICEF and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados in celebration of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP)
IDSDP is celebrated around the world on April 6. This year, 16 local communities and a team from St. Vincent and the Grenadines came together for three events held over the weekend in observance of IDSDP in Barbados. The first event was a youth outreach educational workshop at BOA headquarters on the topic, “Sports as a pathway out of poverty: Youth edition” facilitated by the National Council on Substance Abuse, Barbados Family Planning Association and the A Ganar Program.
The themes covered included Managing Conflict through Sport, Substance Abuse Awareness and Youth Advocacy Movement. Approximately 30 persons participated in interactive sessions featuring drama presentations and real-life scenarios on how decisions made in youth can affect a person’s life skills in the future.
The second event, a Community Leaders’ Conference held on Saturday, April 7, focused on four critical areas which affect community leaders and community development; Sport, The Family and the Community Leaders; Sport, Community & Government; Sport, Community & Media; and Sport, Community & Education.
President of the Barbados Football Association, Randy Harris said that it was important for Barbadians to change the way they view sports. “What we need to do is to create an atmosphere that will produce a professional. We have to find an institution with a sports vision to develop our athletes,” said Harris.
The main event, the annual Multi-sports Youth Rally, was held on Sunday, April 8 at Blenheim Playing Field. The event was staged to promote unity and peace through sporting activities and to bring awareness to social changes that can be achieved through sports.
At the opening ceremony, Director of the National Olympic Academy, Dave Farmer, thanked the partners for assisting in organising the youth rally. “We are hoping that today’s event will be to the benefit of all of the communities taking part. It was a great effort by all of the communities who worked very hard over the last six to eight weeks, attending meetings, and putting together all of the logistics to make this day possible. The BOA is extremely proud to have partnered with communities across Barbados to celebrate this day and we look forward to continued collaboration in the future” said Farmer.
The Rally which was eventually won by Gall Hill featured an under-15 football tournament, checkers, dominoes, netball, road tennis matches and tug-o-war. The other participating teams were: Benefica FC, Brittons Hill FC, Bydes Mill FC, Cosmos FC, Deacons FC, Empire FC, Evans Maughn FC, Ivy Rovers FC, Paradise FC, St. Andrews Lions, United Stars Alliance, Wales FC, Waterford FC, Wildey FC and visiting team from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Systems Three.