Monday, August 15, 2016

Unifying Power of Sports


For the last couple of days pictures of Egypt's women's beach volleyball team playing against Germany's team during an Olympic 2016 match has swept the internet. One lady wearing a full body suit which covered her entire body from head till her toes while the other one playing wearing just a bikini.Many people focused on what divided the players, what was so different many others focused on what united them.
It was termed as  a 'culture clash' but I guess it was the unifying power of sports, the spirit of sportsmanship and most importantly the passion to represent one's homeland on the national stage.

It is a beautiful and diverse world we live in. It may be afflicted with war, terror and social disparity but it is still beautiful. It is not a cultural clash and it certainly not is a cultural difference but it is a celebration of the many cultures of the world.

The international volleyball federation (FIVB) altered the uniform regulations shortly before the 2012 London Games so it wouldn’t exclude cultures that might be turned off by the standard bikinis or shorts uniforms.

Saudi  Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time in 2012 London Olympics so that every eligible country has sent a female competitor to at least one Olympic Games. A great achievement for female athletes of the world in particular and women in general.
Our world today in the year 2016 is plagued with more terrorism than any other time. Despite all the the problems and security scares before the games  IOC was able to gather  10,000 best athletes in the world, competing with each other, at the same time living peacefully together in one Olympic Village.
The athletes are there to compete, to show their abilities to the people of the world and most of all to prove that the values of humanity shared by them and many other citizens of the world are stronger than the forces which divide them.

IOC's Olympic refugee team ... comprising of 10 athletes who have fled war or poverty were present to compete in Rio, two athletes one North Korean and another South Korean took a selfie, a hijabi athlete marched in front with team USA, Iran's flag bearer was a girl on a wheel chair who is an Olympic and Paralympic Archer and the images of the German and Egyptian female beach volleyball team all a symbol of hope and  that the world is still beautiful, people still care and spirit of competition is greater than fear.

Sports can bring people, can unite them under the umbrella of a certain sport which they can play and enjoy... maybe in a slightly different attire but with the common spirit of sportsmanship.

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