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Sport for All: Turning theory into practice


How to turn theory into concrete action for a healthier and active lifestyle for all generations was at the centre of the 12th World Sport for All Congress, which was held in Malaysia from 3 to 6 November 2008. Under the motto “Sport for All – Sport for Life”, 505 participants from 96 countries worked together to share knowledge, discuss best practice and find progressive solutions to counteract trends of physical inactivity. The event was organised by the Olympic Council of Malaysia under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its Sport for All Commission, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).

Declaration shows way forward
The most important insights and conclusions were wrapped up in a declaration, which was adopted unanimously by all the participants and presented by Walther Tröger, Chairman of the IOC’s Sport for All Commission. The declaration addresses current challenges in this field and gives recommendations for future action as well as partnerships. It also appeals to the various stakeholders involved, such as sports organisations on international, national, regional and local levels, governments, public authorities and schools. The next World Sport for All Congress, to be held in Jyväskylä, Finland from 14 to 17 June 2010, will offer the opportunity to closely follow up whether, and how, the contents of the declaration have been brought to life.

From a Malaysian point of view
Tunku Imran, President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), is very happy with the success of the event, and hopes Malaysians will put into practice what they have learnt from other successful nations: “We can establish policies, but what is more important is implementing them at the grassroots level and in schools,” he said. “Malaysians know the theories, but they must start putting them into practice. Unfortunately, that’s something that’s clearly lacking. Some schools have only one hour of physical education in a week.”

Spirit for joint efforts
Walther Tröger thanked the Malaysian hosts for staging an “extraordinary Congress”. “It has been a great experience to see so many Sport for All experts and practitioners on one spot benefitting from each others’ experience”, he said at the closing of the event. “You could really feel the overall spirit for joint efforts during the sessions and during the breaks. I look forward to seeing concrete outcomes of these interactions at the next World Sport for All Congress in two years in Finland. But also the Olympic Congress in October 2009 in Copenhagen will set another milestone in pushing for a healthier lifestyle in society.”

Under the overall Congress theme “The Olympic Movement in Society”, one focus will be on “Moving towards an active society”.


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