By Nasra Al Adawi
“Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding.” The words of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) echoed in my mind during a visit to a sporting event, recently.
This hadith is a true testimony to the importance of sports. And it is our responsibility to teach our kids sports of all kinds and especially those that will help enhance their motor skills and also enable them to learn various other skills.
A recent visit to Muscat’s Healthy Lifestyle Festival, which I had made along with my children, clearly reinforced my belief on the importance of sports.
It was thrilling to witness the eagerness of youth taking part in different sports competitions. It also opened my eyes as to how young kids wanted to take part in these competitions even though some of them were not even meant for kids.
We are in need of creating more community sporting arenas in and around Oman, which will help engage the youth in activities and also give them an understanding that sport is way of life.
Yes, there are plenty of sports’ clubs. But, sadly, these clubs remain inaccessible for many members of the community since most of them are not located in residential areas and this itself alienates those who are in distant areas from benefitting from these facilities. In recent years, we have seen growth of green football pitches to enable football enthusiasts to take part in sports. Still, it falls short of the actual need to cater for the whole community and therefore the purpose is lost.
When we engage the community in sporting activities, it’s considered to be a great tool in building resilience towards committing crimes, engaging in violence and/or using drugs, as stated by UNODC. They have continued to emphasise on this issue by launching a global youth anti-crime initiative that is revolving around the power of sports as the key tool for peace.
Moreover, the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development also highlights the same elements that sports assist in empowering individuals and communities as a whole and its contribution towards betterment of health, education and as well creating social inclusion.
Therefore, there is a greater need to allow children and youth to access community sporting and to reduce the limitation that make sports eligible only for those who can afford it!
It is high time to create the buzz towards a greater goal of ‘sports for all’ and not limit it to only sports athletes but to widen the horizons so that sports is infused in our strategies to get every child and the youth to actively participate in sports for life. We should strive to eliminate exceptions so that communities can be uplifted as well engage those who are in the field, such as sports coaches, who can guide and coach children and youth on life skills that enables them to resist adverse social pressure, which can in turn can eliminate delinquency.
Let me push home the point that this is not just a single person’s vision or a singular view, rather, it’s a community’s vision and so I would like to call out to all of you out there to actively take part in #ChooseSport and be a part of spreading the energy of sports and taking part in uplifting our community.