Use sport as a tool for social change

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Celebrated on August 12 annually, IYD seems to fly under the radar. Yet everyone is quick to make utterances about the importance of youth and young people to the future of the world and in our case T&T.

But like everything else, some things get appropriate attention while others don’t.

IYD was designated by the United Nations in 1999 with the adoption of Resolution 54/120 and is aimed at drawing attention to youth issues worldwide.

The theme for this year’s IYD is “Safe Spaces For Youth”.

Generally, sport has a unique power in promoting cultural awareness and harmony between people of a different upbringing. On the occasion of IYD, the TTOC is encouraging everyone to think about how sport could positively address the societal challenges and turmoil engulfing T&T.

Sports could become a very important and powerful tool for enabling and preparing children, youth and young adults in becoming successful leaders in the vanguard of the future development of this country.

“Sport speaks to youth in a language they understand. It is more powerful than Governments in breaking down racial barriers.”- Nelson Mandela.

Sport can break down barriers but in many cases, the perception is that sport builds barriers rather than break them down. The reason this is so if you do a formal or informal survey, the fingers will point to sports administrators.

Trying to defend sports administrators these days certainly will not win you any friends.

Sports organisations can and must do a much better job, changing the perception that we are a bunch of out of our depth/out of touch bumbling idiots, is not going to be an easy task if we continue making front-page headlines for all the wrong reasons under the sun.

Sport is one of T&T’s prized assets. It’s a crying shame that the good work of many is undone by a few. If we are to create sport as safe spaces for the youth of the nation, sports organisations and sports administrators can’t continue to be the turmoil.

• Editor’s note: Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed by him are not necessarily those of the organisation.

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