by Romano Lupi MONACO. “Adapting how to play sport to put it at the service of society and help build sustainable peace” said Joël Bouzou, founder and president of Peace and Sport, in the opening speech to the 10th Peace and Sport International Forum that took place in Monaco from 6 to 8 December 2017, under the theme “Sport innovation for social transformation”. The Forum brought together more than 500 leading figures from the international sports movement, the private sector and NGOs, as well as political leaders and Champions for Peace. Champions for Peace are top-level sports champions such as among many others Novak Djokovic, Chris Froome, Paula Radcliffe, Felipe Massa, Sergey Bubka Sébastien Loeb, Sarah Ourahmoune, Drogba, etc. The Peace and Sport “Champions for Peace club” are role-models, heroes and a source of inspiration for young people throughout the world as they use their fame to serve projects which use sport to tackle social issues.
“When used as part of an approach that is in tune with realities of the local environment, sport has a proven capacity to foster harmony and integration.” The former Olympic champion of modern pentathlon Joël Bouzou said during the press release. Peace and Sport is a neutral and independent organization based in the Principality of Monaco under the patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. Peace and Sport works in areas across the world where communities have become estranged from one another and where traditional policies have failed to establish dialogue, with the goal of restoring peaceful relations. Its objective is to bring the structuring values of sport to the heart of communities and individuals in crisis throughout the world. Starting from the conviction that peace can be taught, learned and communicated, Joël Bouzou spoke with the Press about the Manual of Adapted Sport, a tool that can be used in the field, available to anyone who wants to make use of its capacity to unite people and uphold the values of citizenship. Herewith an extract of Joël Bouzou declarations.
Q. Mr.Bouzou, what is an Adapted Sport?
A. “An “adapted sport” is a sporting activity whose practice area, equipment and rules are adapted to the environment in which it is carried out. This makes the sport easier to play and facilitates its use as a tool to promote and strengthen sustainable peace. Starting from the conviction that peace can be taught, learned and communicated, Adapted Sport aims to make sport a tool that can be used in the field, available to anyone who wants to make use of its capacity to unite people and uphold the values of citizenship.”
Q. Can you give us some examples of adapted sports?
A. “Certain international sports federations are already working towards this goal. For example, the IRB (International Rugby Board) recognizes and promotes “touch rugby”, an adapted version of “traditional” rugby. Touch rugby is based on adapted rules and principles that allow participants to play rugby without having to partake in contact. The first difference is that players simply touch the person carrying the ball rather than tackling them to the ground. This feature makes the sport easier to play, and even helps to establish “traditional” rugby in communities. Similarly, 3×3 basketball is an adaptation of “traditional” basketball, and is played in teams of three against three, with a single basketball hoop. These international federations are therefore developing tools to make it easier to adapt their sports to different environments. Taking into account the specific features of each individual environment, adapted sports and equipment thus enable the implementation of disciplines within deprived areas with little or no access to infrastructure and sports equipment.”
Q. What adapted equipment refers to?
A.“Adapted equipment” refers to any piece of sports equipment made from local resources whether recycled products (used tyres and plastic bottles, etc.) or natural resources (bamboo canes, banana tree leaves etc”)
Q. Joel, tell us something more on the manual.
A. “It is a manual made up of educational information sheets showing how to adapt ‘sport as a tool’ according to targeted factors. This new tool will be instructive, practicable and progressive and most useful to those educators worldwide who wish to use sport as a vehicle for peace. Practice areas, equipment and rules are based on a changing and transmissible idea for an “adapted sport”. The manual summarizes and assembles the best practices in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people. The manual is intended to be practical and adapted to realities on the ground rather than scientific.”
Q. Why do we need an adapted sports manual?
A. “For several years, Peace and Sport has been working with various local actors who use sport as a tool for education and peace. This experience has showed us that many of them have difficulty implementing certain sports due to a lack of equipment and infrastructure, but also due to the complexity of the rules of the sport. The goal of this manual is not to promote the development of sport for all, but to adapt it into a tool that can be set up and used in a wide range of different communities. It therefore aims to highlight and promote the adaptability of sports. In order to do this, the manual provides a range of options for adapting several different sports, developed by various contributors around the world. Taking into account the specificities of the target environment, these options are intended to respond to the specific needs and issues of their recipients.
Q. Who is this manual intended for?
A. “This manual is for any person or institution wishing to develop adapted sports in order to use sport to meet their own needs, e.g. governments, National Olympic Committees, national and international sports federations, as well as local communities, youth centres and schools. Rather than being a theoretical manual, it is a practical tool intended for anyone wishing to lead youth through sport. The information sheets allow the user to adapt “the sports tool” to their own requirements according to the various issues most relevant to them. The manual has been created in such a way as to be used and understood by all.”
Joel Bouzu founded “Peace and Sport, L’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport ” in 2007 in order to set up a politically neutral platform for international cooperation which could bring the worlds of peace and sport closer together, strong in the conviction that sport has the capacity to contribute to tackling the most crucial issues in our society. Sport is not just a solo effort. It contributes to a collective goal of peace and social cohesion. It is for this reason that sport must be used more and more as a tool for educating the younger generations and as a vehicle for social stability, unity and intercommunity dialogue. Consequently, in order for sport to be useful to society it must be adapted to the specific technical, cultural and economic features of local areas. Equally, it must comply with the agendas of civil society, local stakeholders and all those working at the heart of communities. Sport has the unique potential to be tailored to the realities of the local environment in which it is practised.