POSTED: August 2nd 2009

Athletics is the key sport, Diack tells Senegal youngsters

Every hurdler has to start somewhere /
Every hurdler has to start somewhere /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

DAKAR: Children with any sort of sporting ambition would be well advised to make a start with athletics, according to Lamine Diack, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations. He was addressing more than 500 young people in Pikine, a suburb of the Senegalese capital.

Diack described sport as “self-knowledge, self mastery and surpassing one-self.” To attain those goals he recommended athletics as an ideal vehicle, stating: “Athletics being the first sport, and the basis of all sports, it must be practised by everyone before they choose to move to other disciplines.”

This approach, said Diack, had marked his own progress up the sporting ladder. He also played football, volleyball and table tennis, before becoming a French high-jump champion at more than 7m. He added: “That was quite common in our time. Sport was compulsory at school and we all practised athletics.”

Diack was speaking at the launch of the Sirou Caravan which builds on the success of the CISA Kids programme. This was created in 2006 by the sports management consultancy JAPPO in collaboration with the Senegalese Union of Schools and Universities Sports Associations.

It is based on the IAAF’s Kids Athletics concept. Competition starts annually in November and ends each June with a children’s festival. The Sirou Caravan, created with the support of the Sirou children's magazine, aims to provide further opportunities for young people aged between five and 15 during the summer holidays.

Keywords · Lamine Diack · International Association of Athletics Federations · IAAF · Sirou Caravan · JAPPO · Senegalese Union of Schools and Universities Sports Associations · Kids Athletics

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