Sport does engage people in many ways at all ages, all parts of the society and all performance levels. And although my background has been performance sport for many years, I aloways look at the other side of sport. How can sport change lives, improve health and helps societies. That sport can have a big positive impact in society many countries have recognized. My current project in Lebanon is exactly about that: Engaging the youth in sport, nurture talent to elite level but encouraging mass participation and a healthy lifestyle as well. For this we are working on a school sport concept which includes public and private schools in the country, engages sport-teachers and coaches alike and ensures that this program will fit in with the mission of the National Governing bodies in the country. Currently, as I am on a fact-finding mission, it is about to identify the stakeholders and getting to know their missions and projects. Beeing it national sport federations, NGOs , government agencies or clubs. Part of a long-term concept is the inclusion of refugees in the country as well. Looking always at the “bigger picture” of such a program it is nice to see the people you are developing these programs for; the kids. Last Saturday there was the final of the “Kids in Athletics” program here in Beirut. Countrywide more than 50 schools participated in this event and the best 6 schools made it to the final. The concept of kids athletics is aimed at primary school level and introducing athletics with very little equipment! Six stations which all include jumping, throwing, sprinting, agility and endurance. All age related and the event with music and a lot of fun ! It was great to see the kids jumping and running around, competing and having fun. This gives me always a boost for the work in the coming weeks, where I am far away from tracks and sport halls but more in the office, in meetings and workshops with teachers and coaches and in front of my computer screen.
Ralf Iwan MBA