This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

How Sport Changed the Life of a Young Colombian

Article Author:

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

The Conversation

This article was originally published in The Conversation, an independent, non-profit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. .. Disclosure information is available on the original site.


Author: Tegwen Gadais, Professor, Department des Sciences de l'activite physique, College du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM); Mauricio Garzon, Associate Trector, Physical Activity Science , Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM); Natalia Valera, University of Columbia Externado de Colombia, Professor of Family and Childhood Studies, Candidate for Dr. Victoria Calzorari Soto, Social Sciences, German University of Physical Education Cologne

A project carried out in the low-income region of Bogota, Colombia, used Olympic racing as part of the Sport for Development and Peace initiative to promote the growth of young people from the low-income region. Walking as a tool for.

Sport for Development and Peace is an international movement that begins with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals from 2000 to 2015 and continues to the Sustainable Development Goals from 2015 to 2030.

The Colombian program, held in the Ciudad Bolivar region from 1996 to 2012, was abolished eight years ago to help underprivileged youth. The program used sports to help young people avoid the dangers they face on a daily basis, including alcoholism, violence, prostitution, drug addiction, vandalism and armed groups.

As a researcher at an institution in Germany, Colombia and Canada, I investigated how sports changed the lives of young people in Colombia affected by armed conflict.

50 years of Colombian armed conflict

Colombia has a population of just over 48 million, of which 22.6% are children under the age of 14. For fifty years, the country has suffered wars between the government and various rebels, resulting in more than 220,000 deaths, 81.5% of which were civilians and the rest of the fighters.

According to a 2019 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Colombia has 8 million internally displaced persons due to conflict, the largest number in the world. Colombia reports that more than 2 million children and adolescents were direct victims of anxiety.

The Colombian capital, Bogotá, has more than 7 million inhabitants and its territory is divided into 20 regions known as localidades.

Ciudad Bolivar is one of these urban areas suffering from poverty and violence. With a population of about 700,000 in more than 200 areas, it is located in the southern part of the city.

This area is one of the major settlements of refugees arriving in the city.

Many are slum dwellers. Most inhabitants are classified as low-income, but 14.5% are classified as those with "unmet basic needs." That is, they endure inadequate and overcrowded housing and inadequate basic services such as electricity and drinking water. This includes school-aged children who are out of school.

This area has few playgrounds for children and is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the city. Due to the existence of street gangs and other illegal groups, it is also dangerous for them to go anywhere alone.

Finally, Ciudad Bolivar is the region in Bogotá where most children under the age of 5 are in poverty (17 percent).

The impact of sports on young Colombians

In 1996, under the responsibility of PE teachers, an athletics club called Escuelade comunidad was established in the area.

From the beginning, the club was supported by the school and the community. Due to the success of the project, the Marcha Olympica Club was born in 1999. Young athletes were trained under Palo del Ahorkad, an outdoor space that makes sense for the community.

The program had two purposes.

From a training perspective, the goal was to enable young people to continue their education in order to receive technical or professional training that would allow them to earn a living after retirement from sports.

From an athlete's perspective, this program helps young athletes reach their full potential and achieve important athlete results in their category at the district, national and international levels. The purpose is to support development. ..

Over the years, several athletes have participated in national championships and the South American Games. Since its inception, eight young people between the ages of 13 and 16 have been selected to participate in 800-meter, 1,500-meter, and 3,000-meter Olympic racewalking events.

Six people participated in inter-university competitions nationwide.

Spurred registration

This first success increased the number of young people enrolling in the club. Since then, about 100 young athletes have participated in various competitions and have begun to win, attracting the attention of the international media.

The Sports Authority of Bogotá selected about 40 young people representing the community at the Colombian Games and assisted them with a variety of services (transportation, technology, food, health). About 10 athletes from this club have become national, South American, Pan-American and World Championship medalists.

The goal of Sport for Development and Peace is to use sports as a means to achieve various social and humanitarian missions such as education, social cohesion, health, reintegration, diplomacy and peace. That is.

Sports can serve as a means of social integration or reintegration in conflict-affected developing countries or regions. Especially for young people, sports can be a means of instilling respect for opponents and rules, teamwork, sportsmanship, determination and discipline.

Sports can also provide personal development, health promotion and disease prevention, gender equality, social integration, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and resolution, disaster and trauma relief. From a development perspective, the goal is to promote sports for the masses, not elite sports.

How sports can change lives and countries

In reality, sports for development and peace take many forms. I can. That can mean organizing clubs and tournaments in El Salvador, reclaiming territory from street gangs, and sending children to school. Alternatively, you can train and coach your children in the poorest areas of Montreal.

In Madagascar, sports are used to keep children busy after school and away from the dangers of the streets.

You can also play soccer games between Palestinian and Israeli youth, engage in social cohesion, and teach them to respect each other.

None of this is new. In 1894, Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, declared: "Sports are one of the most powerful elements of peace and we are confident in our future actions."

But in reality, it was Nelson Mandela who influenced the modern movement. It was the word. In his speech at the 2000 Laureus World Sports Awards, he said:

"Sports have the power to change the world. They have the power to inspire and unite people in ways that most other things cannot do."

Indeed, Mandela himself used the power of sport at the 1995 Rugby World Cup after apartheid officially ended to unite the South African people. Sports.


Tegwen Gadais is funded by the Quebec Government. He is a UNESCO and World Bank consultant. He is affiliated with the UNESCO Chair (

Mauricio Garzon, Natalia Varela and Victoria Calzolari Soto will not work, consult, own shares or receive funds for any company or organization that will benefit from this article. .. schedule.


This article has been republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Disclosure information is available on the original site. Read the original article: https: // theconvers