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The 14th World Conference on Sport for All got under way today at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing with workshops, plenary sessions and other meetings designed to promote health, fitness and well-being by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to participate in sports activities and embrace the Olympic values.
The focus of this year’s Conference, running from 21 to 23 September, is on the practical implementation of Sport for All programmes, and was reformatted from earlier conferences to place greater emphasis on interactive knowledge-sharing and the exchange of best practices. Experts from around the globe will share their experiences on a wide range of Sport for All activities with an estimated audience of 600 people this week.
Hosted by the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing Municipal Government, the Conference has been jointly organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing Olympic City Development Association (BODA) in collaboration with SportAccord. The Sport for All Conference is one of the IOC’s key advocacy initiatives in this field. It has, since its formation, been dedicated to promoting broad dissemination of the Sport for All philosophy globally.
“Our hope is that when you go back to your respective cities and countries, you will be able to implement on the ground what you have learnt or discovered during this Conference,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told participants at Wednesday’s Opening Ceremony. “I think we all agree: In the end it is not just about talking, but about taking action and seeing concrete results. We can always do more to get more people moving and taking exercise.”
IOC Sport for All Commission Chairman Sam Ramsamy concurred: “In today’s society, Sport for All has to play a very significant role in ensuring that citizens at large participate in sports activities. Elite sport is a beautiful objective and a high ideal for many participants. At the same time, sport offers many other values in abundance, such as fair play, volunteerism, community involvement, a healthy lifestyle, and much more. This is our focus in Sport for All.”
In light of the focus of the 14th Sport for All Conference — the practical implementation of Sport for All programmes — the IOC’s Sport for All Commission decided to create a grant to support the outstanding work of entities actively engaged in promoting Sport for All, particularly in the developing world, and disseminating the health and social benefits of sport in general.
The three winners of the grant correspond to the three main themes of the Conference:
• Health and social benefits of physical activity (Eco Sports Group - Bosnia and Herzegovina)
• Programmes and policies (Ethiopia - Sport Builds Bridges)
• Development and promotion of Sport for All (Health Qigong Administrative Centre of the General Administration of Sport of China and the Chinese Health Qigong Association)
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport. This is one of the fundamental principles of Olympism,” said President Rogge. “This is why I am very pleased about the Sport for All Commission’s project to reward three of the many outstanding Sport for All initiatives around the world ... we thank them all for their valued contributions and wish them continued success in the future.”