Together, we are going to cross the finishing line of this race against the clock which has been imposed on us by the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. The resilience we displayed in 2020 helped us to strengthen our solidarity.
Covid-19 caused the world Olympic and Sports community to entrench itself, obliging us to postpone our international or continental agendas. By way of consequence, the Tokyo Olympic Games were carried forward to 2021 in Japan. Tradition will be respected under Covid-19 virus’ very nose which will be silenced thanks to measures taken by the Tokyo Summer Games’ organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee. The IOC took its responsibilities and the entire Sports and Olympic Movement is very proud of that.
The great African Olympic family is committed to make its participation in these historic games very outstanding. This is the consequence of our synergy in facing the Coronavirus. A synergy we were eagerly looking for on the same occasion a year ago.
We continue saying that we remain focused in joining our forces in facing the Coronavirus pandemic, because this health crisis remains a constant challenge. The fight against Covid-19 can only be won as a team and sport is always a team affair.
We did it but we still have to go through new steps. Sport is a wonderful tool to combat all forms of discrimination, a vector of fundamental values and it plays a vital role in the development of more inclusive societies.
Our continent is being shaken up by inter-State conflicts but above all, it has been well aware of the threat borne by the Coronavirus which nearly disrupted the health system of the various African countries.
Sport has always provided its own share to development and to the building of sustainable peace. It is in this sense that ANOCA set aside this 6 April 2021 as the International Day of Sport at the service of Development and Peace, and calls for permanent mobilization in favour of all activities organized all over the world by federations, National Olympic Committees, clubs, associations, institutions and private actors. On this day therefore, athletes and federations put everything together to celebrate the contribution of sport and physical activity to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and to a peaceful world as envisaged by the United Nations.
We must encourage African Youths to practise sport and educate them through sport. This compels us to innovate and adapt to the constant wishes and needs of the youths.
The social rehabilitation of athletes coming to the end of their sports career is also an opportunity to pass on sports values through solidarity and inclusion, equity, sharing and surpassing oneself. These are fundamental values necessary for development and peace.
Sport offers the entire world the best and the Cartesian it has to remain a means to balance international relations, an economic asset and more importantly, sport conveys peace messages through fair play, physical effort, the spreading of positive energy to more than 2.5 billion inhabitants in the world.
The promotion of peace and development is the responsibility of sport all over the world, and especially in regions going through conflicts, wars and epidemics. Thanks to its strong impact, sport has progressively been recognized and used as a tool for humanitarian assistance, development and peace keeping.
It is certain that with all the challenges ahead of us and the bright future we are looking for, we will make it in peace and through sport.
President of ANOCA