With the sporting action now in full swing, there is still a big focus on the educational activities on offer to athletes at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018. Here, we look at how YOG athletes are benefitting from efforts by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to raise awareness of illegal betting and anti-doping.
The Athlete365 Space, located in the heart of the Youth Olympic Village, is hosting various activities as part of the Athlete Education Programme throughout the YOG, each related to a different aspect of sporting education and integrity. In the first week of the Games, athletes have been visiting the IOC’s Believe in Sport booth and WADA’s Clean Sport booth.
The power to believe in sport
The Believe in Sport booth is helping young athletes to better understand the risks of competition manipulation and raise awareness of how they may unwittingly be involved in it. Using the Believe in Sport interactive game, athletes have been creating their own avatars by taking a selfie and choosing their own clothes, sport and even hair colour, before navigating their way through some difficult real-life situations, such as betting on sport, sharing insider information and being asked to deliberately underperform.
Alexei Terblanche, a 17-year-old hockey player from Zimbabwe, was one of many YOG athletes who spent time in the area, and found her experience extremely valuable. “I think [the Believe in Sport game] is really good, as you can see what you must do and what you must not, which you can take away with you for the rest of your life We must be fair when we compete against other athletes from around the world,” she said. “I find [the Athlete365 Space] so amazing. I’ve never experienced any of this, and I think it’s nice that you can meet new people, and that there are lots of different things you can win by playing the games.”
Keeping sport cleanAlongside the Believe in Sport space, a team of anti-doping experts and athlete representatives from WADA have been welcoming visitors to the Clean Sport booth. Athletes have been testing their knowledge of anti-doping with the Play True quiz, and putting their own questions to the WADA team – which includes Olympians Kady Kanoute Tounkara, who represented Mali in basketball in 2008, and Czech badminton player Petr Koukal.
Participants are being encouraged to join the fight against doping by adding their name and handprint to the anti-doping pledge wall, while WADA is also giving young athletes the chance to pose for a photo while lifting the Play True weights bar. If they upload this photo to their timeline and complete the quiz, they are eligible to receive some exclusive goodies, including a Play True hat and a magnetic mount for their phones – making it easier to get a selfie with #Pandi!
“I was attracted to [the WADA area] because it looked fun, with some goodies to win,” said Congolese swimmer Eddie Corneille Boyengue, “but I also thought it would be good to get to know more about the topic through the [Play True] game. “I learned that it’s really me who is responsible for whatever I take – and that even if a doctor prescribes it, I need to make sure that I am getting the right thing.”
As the dual focus on competition and learning continues at Buenos Aires 2018, the IOC and WADA are demonstrating in an effective way how important it is that athletes play true and believe in their sport, as they embark on what they hope will be a long and successful athletic career.