POSTED: November 4th 2008

Congress sets lifestyle focus

Jacques Rogge: awareness appeal /
Jacques Rogge: awareness appeal /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

GENTING, MALAYSIA: 'Sport for All - for Life' was the theme of the 12th World Sport for All Congress which opened Monday in Genting Highlands.

The Congress, organised under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, centred on an agenda focusing on the different ways that sport can reach out to all age groups and offer a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said: "It is up to us to make sport more attractive, to help clubs revive young people's interest in physical activity and to make older people more aware of the benefits of sport."

This is only the second time the Congress has been held in Asia, after 1996 in Seoul, Korea.

At the opening ceremony Prince Tunku Imran, IOC member and president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, stated: “Due to scarce resources, the sporting needs of the less affluent and disadvantaged sector of the population, such as the aged, the disabled, the immigrants and refugees, are often neglected and forgotten.

“It is important that sports leaders bridge the gap and correct the imbalance in terms of resource allocation between elite sports and sport for all. The sub-themes and the topics of the 12th Sport for All Congress are all relevant to achieving this aim.”

The agenda of the congress is based on five sub-themes with speakers such as Philip Craven (International Paralympic Committee), Timothy Armstrong (World Health Organization), Kelly Fairweather (Sport Performance Institute, Stellenbosch University) and and Lord Sebastian Coe (London 2012).

2016 bid cities taking notes

Representatives from several cities bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were present.

The Tokyo bid delegation included Dr Ichiro Kono, chairman and ceo of Tokyo 2016, IOC vice-president Chiharu Igaya and Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) president Tsunekazu Takeda.

Kono said: “As Tokyo's bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games gains momentum, we are seeing its power to engage or re-engage people with sport and healthy lifestyles.

"Applications for events such as the 2009 Tokyo Marathon are at an all-time high, for example, and I am delighted to be able to share the initiatives that Japan and Tokyo 2016 is implementing to bring the benefits of sport to our society.

"The concept of ‘Sport for All – for Life’ resonates strongly with us and fits perfectly with Tokyo 2016’s Musubi Promise to integrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games with the fabric of city life. We believe that Tokyo 2016 would inspire people across the world to become more involved in sport.”

Tokyo 2016 has reached out to Japanese students with an Olympic textbook highlighting the bid’s 'Musubi Promise', Olympic values and history such as the legacy of the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Japanese Olympians have supported the bid by promoting the textbook, participating in the Olympic Day Run and the Tokyo Marunouchi Street Stadium.

The bid, together with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, also launched the Tokyo Exercise initiative in September, a dance-style fitness program which invites all generations to engage in physical and wellness recreation.

Madrid 2016 was also in attendance to network and spread the word about its Generation 16 project which includes promoting sport in schools and communities. The plan aims at raising the awareness of sport in everyday life through programs designed to increase physical activity in adults and health programmes linked to sports activity for the elderly.

All-age experience

Madrid bid chairman Mercedes Coghen said: “Generation 16 is at the heart of the Madrid 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid. We have taken the concept of sport for all and made it relevant to everyone of all ages who will experience the Games in 2016.

“Thus, Generation 16 is not one programme but many different programmes encouraging participation in an active lifestyle and promoting the sporting values of fair play.

"Our message - to schools, to clubs and community centres and to schemes working with the elderly - is that you are never too young or too old to enhance your life through a more active and healthier life style.
“If Madrid can not only aspire to the Olympic ideal but actually live that ideal through Generation 16 then the benefits will foster health and social integration. That is our dream for every generation in 2016."

USOC vice-president Bob Ctvrtlik led a bid delegation of Mike Roberts, a Chicago 2016 bid board member, who was joined by bid advisers Charlie Battle and Mike Kontos.

Obama's Chicago significance

Chicago is planning a major rally tonight after the presidential polls close for Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama in Grant Park which one million people are expected to attend. Even with the polls still open hundreds of people were already lining up to celebrate a potential hometown president-elect.

In the event of his election the Obama force could very well prove a trump card for the Chicago bid.

Rio de Janeiro was represented by Mario Cilenti, who was chief operating officer for the successful 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil and who is the director of international relations for Rio 2016. He was accompanied by members of the Brazilian NOC.

Next likely appointment on the 2016 campaign trail is the European Olympic Committees XXXVII General Assembly in  Istanbul, Turkey, from November 21-22.

The decision on the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games will be taken next October in Copenhagen, Denmark at the 121st IOC session and congress.

Keywords · IOC · Sport for All · Prince Tunku Imran · Olympic Council of Malaysia · Dr. Jacques Rogge · Philip Craven · Timothy Armstrong · Kelly Fairweather · Sebastian Coe

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