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Opinion

Beyond the physical value of sport

Friday 2 September 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in National

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Beyond the physical value of sport
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 aspects alone.

“Sport builds character, teaches and develops strategic thinking, analytical thinking, leadership skills, goal setting, and risk taking to name a few.

“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.

Owen Lewis, secretary-general of the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) has been active in the technical deliberations of sports education courses. – 22090246/Photo: ONOC

“The economic value of the sports sector is therefore comprised of a number of monetary and non-monetary elements.”

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.