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24 Apr 2007
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Rogge addresses gathering of world-wide sports leaders in Beijing

IOC President Jacques Rogge tonight in Beijing addressed leaders and representatives from the world of sport, gathered for the Sport Accord meeting, which groups together a wide section of the sports industry.  Speaking in the presence of the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao, Rogge spoke of the growing excitement as the months count down to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  “This is a fascinating city which in just 16 months time will welcome the athletes of the world, the sports personnel who support them and the fans who cheer them,” he said. “The world is watching and waiting, eager to see what Beijing and China has to offer and anticipating what it can achieve through sport and the hosting of the Olympic Games,” he continued.
A word of caution
Having shared his confidence about the Beijing Olympic Games, for which he confirmed preparations were, “on track and set to culminate in a spectacular event” the leader of the Olympic Movement took the opportunity to throw a word of caution on issues that challenge sport.  “The fight against doping remains top of our list,” he said. “It is vital that we support the World Anti-Doping Agency in its effort. Their World Conference on Doping and Sport in Madrid in November will be an excellent occasion to discuss the progress made in this fight, and anticipate future threats.”
Rogge continued, “Coming not far behind on the list of challenges we face today, is the growing trend in sport’s decline in relevance.  In a world where so many other temptations and leisure activities compete for young people’s attention, the appeal of sport finds itself under question.  We have a duty to find solutions to this issue. Why? For two key reasons; first, in order to shift young people away from a sedentary way of life towards an active lifestyle, and thereby tackle the frightening increase in obesity amongst many populations. Second, because the values sport can teach – friendship, respect, and excellence – are arguably more important than ever in today’s world.  It is our duty to make sport an inspiration, to help young people discover why sport matters.”
A vision for sport to improve life through collaborative efforts.
Ending on an up-beat note, Rogge concluded, “Sport is a social movement that has the power to offer young people the chance of a better and more meaningful life.   By collaborating around the same vision, the sports bodies and governments can play a meaningful role in ensuring that generations, young and old, have a healthier and more wholesome lifestyle based on physical activity and physical education. Let us all focus our energies in this direction”.
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