POSTED: August 14th 2014

Peace and Sport: Friendship Games slated for African Great Lakes this weekend

Great Lakes Friendship Games / Peace and Sport
Great Lakes Friendship Games / Peace and Sport

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Burundi, Gihanga, will celebrate peace through sport with the fifth edition of Peace and Sport’s Great Lakes Friendship Games 15-17 Aug.

Young athletes, between the ages of nine and 16, from Burundi, the Democratic of Congo, and Rwanda will compete in sports competitions and demonstration, awareness workshops for HIV, and cultural activities at the three-day event. The athletes will compete in nine sports: football, athletics, football, table tennis, volleyball, karate, judo, dance, netball, and taekwondo.

“The Games are a unique opportunity to forge links of fraternity and friendship, to support social cohesion and to help peace consolidation in the region,” Peace and Sport Great Lakes Coordinator Yves Jmoneau said. “This is more important than ever when you consider the increasing regional tensions over the past few months.”

Local stakeholders have begun to help coordinate the Friendship Games, while government ministries for youth and sport and National Olympic Committees from each of the three countries, the UN Mission for the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNICEF, and UNFPA have all pledged their full support.

The sports competitions will be run by the Burundi Sports Federations.

“A combination of sport, culture, and awareness-raising, the fifth edition of the Great Lakes Friendship Games is a special event for young people in this region,” Gihanga youth center Manager and 2014 Friendship Games Coordinator Guy Emmanuel Girukwishaka said. “The positive values of sport and culture provide a means of communication and awaken the consciousness about burning issues, as well as strengthening bonds between our peoples, who were united in the past.”

Peace and Sport will also have its Adapted Sport Manual on hand at an Adapted Sports Practices stand. The manual offers suggestions for using sport as a tool for peace, and a Peace and Sport trainer and a volunteer will give lessons on how to create alternative sports equipment – lessons which are frequently taught in the local youth centres – to the young athletes.

Atlanta 1996 gold medallist and Peace and Sport’s Champion for Peace Benuste Niyongabo will serve as the symbolic father for the athletes of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. 

Keywords · Great Lakes · Africa · Burundi · Democratic Republic of Congo · DRC · Rwanda · Friendship Games · Great Lakes Friendship Games · Peace and Sport ·

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