Owen Lewis at the Oceania National Olympic Committees, Sport Education Programme workshop held from August 30 to September 2 in Nadi, Fiji. – 22090247/ Photo: ONOC
Governments need to understand the value of sport because that will bring investment, resources, and the will to grow the sector says the secretary-general of the Cook Islands National Olympic Committee, Owen Lewis.
Lewis spoke at the Oceania National Olympic Committees Sport
Education Programme Workshop held from August 30 to September 2 in Nadi, Fiji.
Lewis said sports helped people much more than in the physical
“Sport builds character, teaches and develops strategic thinking,
analytical thinking, leadership skills, goal setting, and risk taking to name a
“It is used for team building, developing critical and strategic
thinking, and as a vehicle for changing lives.
“In our region’s inactivity epidemic,
sport is critical as it presents governments with an existing sustainable base
that is firmly embedded in society – it also presents a means of steering
social change and a method for responding to diverse social problems.
“For these reasons
it is imperative that we not only continue to engage our communities in
actively playing sport, but we must also engage them in sport education.”
Lewis said in the
Pacific the sports sector contributed to the economy in employment and by
adding to the economic output of commercial activities.
“By contributing to
a healthy population and increased lifespans – it leads to increased income
levels by reducing healthcare costs,” he said.
“The economic value
of the sports sector is therefore comprised of a number of monetary and
However, Lewis said
countries did not release the existing economic wealth.
“Our value is not
fully acknowledged, and we need to fully promote these economic benefits a lot
more in the region.”
In the context of
Cook Islands sport education, Lewis said it provided the country with an
ability to grow as a nation.
“It will assist us
to further develop a high-performance sport environment on island that will
lead to not only participate at games but compete for medals.”
Lewis said athletes
would be able to better understand themselves and also have pathways for their
development beyond sport.