ABUJA, Nigeria, April 5, 2022/ — The 9th International Day of Sport dubbed “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace” to be celebrated on 6 April 2022, affords another opportunity for ANOCA (www.AfricaOlympic.com) President, Mustapha Berraf, to convey a message of peace and solidarity to the African and global sports community.
Message from the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Mr Mustapha Berraf:
Dear brothers and sisters of the African Olympic family,
As has been the tradition since 2014, the sports and Olympic community will, on 6 April 2022, take the necessary time off on the occasion of the 9th International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to exalt the role of sport as a factor of emancipation and unity amongst people, community development, peace and understanding, which promotes peace building in the world.
As the supreme governing body of the African Olympic Movement, ANOCA avails itself of this opportunity to note that this Day is being celebrated against a backdrop of conflicts that affect the continent and hamper economic, social and cultural development.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in which all the 54 ANOCA member NOCs participated, were an exceptional showcase for the furtherance of the values of peace and solidarity, which have been our strength since Pierre de Coubertin. Athletes from the four corners of the world, in unison with those from Africa, flew the Olympic flag high and showcased sport as the expression of life and healthy competition amongst nations.
The participation of refugee athletes further reaffirmed the IOC ideal of making the world’s athletes champions of peace and understanding amongst human beings through sport.
I salute the joint action of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United Nations (UN) in building a world of peace and harmony through sport. We celebrate this Day thanks to them. Proclaimed by the United Nations on 23 August 2013, on the initiative of the International Olympic Committee, the International Day of Sport, dubbed «International Day of Sport for Development and Peace» and celebrated every 6 April, establishes a historical link with the opening date of the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896.
This year, we will also remember that the entire world, and Africa in particular, has lived through three years of trauma due to the terrible Covid-19 pandemic.
Faced with Covid-19, Africa remained dignified, united and was able to put aside all individualistic desires and bloated egos to focus on athletes, coaches, leaders and sports promoters who were at a crossroads at the time.
I would like to express my gratitude to the continental sports organisations that rallied around ANOCA to find viable solutions for the athletes and their coaches. We are not yet completely out of the woods, but these moments of respite give room for optimism and time for reflection.
I hail the resilience of the African Olympic and Sports Movement, which has been able to face this pandemic and is gradually recovering, as evidenced by the of in-person meetings and the organisation of «general public» events that can now draw crowds of spectators.
Nevertheless, in this critical period when the threat of the coronavirus still looms, and can resurface at any moment, we must, in synergy, remain vigilant and work with charitable souls to foster the notions of understanding, fraternity and solidarity, more than ever before, through sport.
As Africa joins the rest of the world to celebrate this International Day, the continent and the world at large are rocked by a series of crises plaguing parts of our continental and global space such as the war in Ukraine. With regard to the latter, ANOCA stands with the IOC, which has stripped Russia of certain Olympic honours and supports the Olympic community in Ukraine. ANOCA has heeded the IOC’s call for peace and an end to this war, which is causing deep division and suffering.
I wish to remind us of the Ancient Greek tradition of the «EKECHEIRIA» or «Olympic Truce Pact» dedicated to the spirit of brotherhood and understanding amongst people. The fact cannot be overemphasised, the Olympic Movement and the United Nations share the same ideals of tolerance, fair play and peace.
Sport can and must serve peace.
Governments have an essential role to play, especially with young people, in sport development, which is an integral part of education and is the glue of social cohesion, a factor of national identity.
Convinced of the nobility and serenity of the Olympic flame, ANOCA has, from its inception, been aware of the role of sport as a powerful vector of peace building. Beyond the meetings regularly organised to blend sport and peace, the association has become the great promoter of the noble goal of the Olympic Truce among States of the Continent.
On this Day, ANOCA calls on all stakeholders of the African Olympic and Sports Movement and the various Governments to celebrate the values of sport and promote peace and development for young people in Africa and the world for a calm, peaceful planet.
Holder of the African Olympic Order
Holder of the ANOC Olympic Order
Holder of the IOC Olympic Order
About the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA):
The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) (www.AfricaOlympic.com) is an international organization based in Abuja, Nigeria, which brings together the fifty-four African National Olympic Committees.
ANOCA was founded on June 28, 1981 in Lomé by Anani Matthia and Juan Antonio Samaranch with the help of Ydnekatchew Tessema. It was then called the Pan-African Olympic Institution at the service of sport, youth, human development, and the promotion of Olympic values.