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  • 22Jun

    Situated in the centre of Finland, some 270 kilometres north of Helsinki, Jyväskylä was the home for the 13th World Sport for All Congress from Monday 14th to Thursday 17th June 2010.

    A total of 586 delegates from 92 countries, experts in different fields shared experiences, reporting on the latest findings for the promotion of sport for everyone.

    Organized by the LIKES Research Centre, (the name being derived from the Finnish Liikunnan ja Kansanterveyden Edistämissäätiö) and the University of Jyvaskyla, the event was hosted by the Finnish Olympic Committee. Matters were administered under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Sportaccord/GAISF (GAISF - the General Association of International Sports Federations).

    Jacques Rogge
    Proceedings were opened by Jacques Rogge, IOC President.

    “We have come to Finland with a sense of urgency to deal with an issue that affects the lives and health of people of all ages around the world”, he said. “At our last Congress in Malaysia, we urged governments and public authorities at all levels to make sport and physical activity a key element of health policy; two years later, the need for action is even more apparent, the WHO reports that 60 per cent of the world’s population fails to get the necessary amount of physical activity.”

    Certainly that is not the Finnish tradition.

    Finland has a long tradition of promoting sport and physical activity to improve health and wellbeing of its citizens. Different organizations within the country are spreading the positive message of sport for all.

    The Congress brought together representatives from the Olympic family, specialists, researchers, government officials and United Nations representatives.

    A variety of programmes, strategies and policies to promote Sport for All among the different age groups was discussed.

    Sport for Youth Vital
    “Humans need physical activity to thrive; far too many children have little opportunity for sport, exercise or outdoor play, we can see the results in the rising rates of youth obesity and diabetes”, said Jacques Rogge. “However, whilst we often focus on young people, we must not forget about the other age groups, physical activity is important for all generations and this notion is reflected in the programme of this Sport for All Congress; the upcoming Olympic Day on 23 June will be the next opportunity to encourage all age groups to get moving.”

    It was a highly motivational address and the conclusion was equally positive.

    The Conference finished with a declaration that was supported unanimously by all participants; the document, which was presented by Sam Ramsamy, Chairman of the IOC’s Sport for All Commission, summed up current needs and trends in the field of Sport for All and recommended concrete action to counteract physical inactivity.

    It was recommended that Congress members address and encourage increased activity from sports movement, individuals, families, the health sector, schools and government authorities.

    The full text of the declaration can be read by following the link below
    The Declaration

    ITTF Representation
    At the proceedings, the International Table Tennis federation was represented by Glenn Tepper, Executive Director – Development Programmes and Leandro Olvech, Development Manager.

    The aim was to become acquainted with concepts of Sport for All that could be applied within the table tennis community worldwide.

    A “Sport for All” Policy and Projects are the next main aim of the ITTF Development Programme hence the attendance of Gelenn Tepper and Leandro Olvech.

    Increasingly Important Worldwide Movement
    “Sport for All” is becoming a unified and increasingly important worldwide movement, with the International Olympic Committee taking the lead”, said Glenn Tepper. “In table tennis, through the Development Programme and Global Junior Programme in particular, we are well in advance of many other sports in regards to targeted areas.”

    Glenn Tepper quoted examples: “Beginner-schools programmes; veteran sport; women’s programmes; sport for athletes with a disability; social inclusion programmes; using sport as a vehicle for social change”, he itemized. “Our challenge is to formulate this into a clear “Sport for All” policy and provide projects which are easily implemented at national, club and school levels.”

    Setting Example
    Undoubtedly, the efforts of the ITTF Development Department are setting an example for other International Sports Federations.

    “As a result of increased time with Peace and Sport staff we will soon finalize a “Table Tennis for Peace”, “how to” brochure which will be a first for any International Sports Federation and will used as a blueprint for other sports”, continued Glenn Tepper; who is quite prepared to learn from other sports.

    “Tennis is always a good model for the International Table Tennis Federation to look for inspiration; they have adopted a grass roots system using bigger and softer balls and smaller courts, which leads to less drop out due to lack of success”, he added. “Already, I trialed this concept in the 90s when working for Table Tennis Australia; in the Australian School Championships I introduced an event using a smaller table and a 44mm ball readily available and used in Japan already, this ball allows young players to rally earlier and hence retention rates are increased; it was a very popular event. We plan to investigate also using a foam ball as tennis do for their youngest beginners.”

    Topic for Thesis
    Certainly in Japan, the 44mm ball tournaments have proved very popular and Glenn Tepper was also of the view that the Congress presented an opportunity for Leandro Olvech.

    “Leandro as part of finalizing his Sports Management Masters must complete a thesis”, concluded Glenn Tepper. “We discussed which topic would both complete the requirements of his Masters Degree and leave a legacy for the International Table Tennis Federation; we both agreed on “Table Tennis for All”; we hope this will be ready for 2011!

    Sounds much more interesting than the garbage I wrote for my thesis many moons ago about Pastoral Care in an English Comprehensive School! I wonder could there be some similarities?

    Unique Opportunity
    “It was a unique experience to share with people from other fields their experiences in this area and also to take note of useful concepts that can be useful for the International Table Tennis Federation”, said Leandro Olvech. “We expect that our final document will be useful for the whole table tennis family and can be used as guideline for development; thus we kindly request all those having information related to Table Tennis for All, development plans in general or for specific groups such as children, women, elderly people, disabled or any other to share it with us to be used for the “Table Tennis for All” booklet.

    Contact Leandro Olvech
    Please advise Leandro Olvech lolvech@ittf.com of development plans, propsals and any related items.

    Taking the Lead and Take a Bow
    The International Table Tennis Federation is ahead of the field; the IOC is to take a stronger leadership role in the next “Sport for All” Conference in Beijing, China in 2011 and has asked the ITTF to make a presentation at the conference.

    All concerned in any aspect of work within the ITTF Development Department are to be congratulated; Table Tennis is truly the “Sport for All”.

    Source: ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 11:24 am

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