The recently concluded WT20 tournament in which the caribbean nations outclassed the mighty England in the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, was a story of that have inspired many to put up a fighting spirit despite problems with their board, money, lack of facilities and infrastructure. It is sports that brought the people of the caribbean together and the 66,000 people of Kolkata was there to witness the epic battle.
This support for unity, sports and development was unprecedented and made the world believe the role of sports in social progress. Mandela did it for South Africa ensuring peace, end of discrimination and development for all. We all remember the India V Pakistan match held at Mohali during the 2011 world cup. The match became a political affair bringing the Prime Ministers of both the nations on the ground to discuss peace and prosperity.
The upcoming major sporting events such as Rio Olympics, Euro Cup, IPL, Azlan Shah Hockey tournament etc will provide a lot of opportunities for players not only to showcase their talent but also to ensure that as ambassadors of sports they continue to spread awareness about social causes among all. Through their performances they can increase people to people contacts and spread development and peace. Understanding this importance, the role of sports has been acknowledged in the Sustainable Development Goals as a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. The growing contribution of sports to realize the dreams of development and peace has been significant with promotion of tolerance and respect. Sports also helps in empowerment of women, youth, individuals and communities as well ensuring good health, education and social inclusion objectives.
This is the reason the United Nations urges the members states, international organisations, civil society and the private sector to co-operate, observe and raise awareness of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. India’s mission should be to place sport at the service of humankind and promote a peaceful society and healthy lifestyles. Every individual in the country should associate sport with culture and education and safeguard human dignity without any discrimination whatsoever. We also need to recognise those differently-abled atheletes who despite all odds showcase achievements and are the drivers of societal change.
There is need to encash upon the vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values of sports. India lacks a national policy of sports that can enable positive influence on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.
As the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon says, “Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers. It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and for development.”
Let’s hope that sports continues to promote peace and development getting more emphasis from all nations and people.
“You don’t play for the crowd, you play for the country.” – Mahendra Singh Dhoni
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation
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