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Call for world governments to include sports in post-pandemic programs

cuba deportes covidWe all know that the Olympic Games promote fellowship among the more than 200 countries present in each edition. This is not, however, the only environment on earth capable of creating a fraternal atmosphere on the sports field.

The world class athletes, convoked to these events (some 10,000 every four years) are a tiny portion of the millions inhabiting the planet, who do not always have access to sports given the paucity of government policies to support such activity and improve quality of life.

Although it is not clear under what conditions the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will take place, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed an agreement to encourage the practice of sports and work to improve the quality of life of human beings.

The WHO estimates that one in four adults is not sufficiently active, while more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is sedentary, making it is imperative to increase physical activity.

The objectives of the two organizations’ agreement, signed in Geneva, where the WHO has its headquarters, are to promote grassroots and community-based sports programs with greater outreach to the population, particularly girls, the elderly and the disabled.

The IOC calls on governments of the world to include sports in their post-pandemic programs given the important role physical activity plays in disease prevention. “Sport can save lives,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, echoing the views of WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said, “We work not only to fight disease, but to help people live healthier lives, as well.”

No single country can successfully meet the challenge of COVID-19. Global collaboration, regardless of political differences, is needed. If we walk together, we can go farther. The pandemic is confirming this reality.


From the very birth of our Revolution, our country has promoted physical exercise to develop healthy lifestyles among Cubans, despite the U.S. blockade, which has created obstacles to the acquisition of sports equipment, which the island must purchase in distant markets, at increased prices.

The task of involving children, youth and the elderly in regular exercise, the creation of School and Youth Games, the promotion of sports in rural areas, the organization of popular marathons, the foundation of grandparents’ clubs, bio-health gyms scattered around the country, and broadening the scope of the country’s competitive program are all efforts that have always been directed toward improving the health of the people, as their primary objective. This approach, tapping this huge pool of talent, has produced athletes who could move toward competing in high performance events and the Olympic Games.

Recent evidence of this spirit favoring sports is the signing of an agreement between the Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (Inder) and the Ministry of Education, to re-evaluate physical education classes and, in particular, increase the pool of talented children who follow and play baseball, the national pastime – for which Inder is set on preparing a great show in the upcoming 60th National Series.

Although international health authorities have noted that the relaxation of protective measures could lead to COVID outbreaks in different parts of the world, some professional leagues have returned to the field with limited audiences. Respecting preventative measures is vital, and we certainly do not hope to see a reversal in the cautionary approach. If this should occur, it would not be for a lack of warnings.

(Source: Granma)

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