To mark this year’s International Day of Friendship, International Sports Federations (IFs) took to social media to demonstrate the inherent link between friendship and teamwork, whilst encouraging fans to demonstrate how important friendship is to them.
The United Nations (UN) International Day of Friendship aims to emphasise the importance of friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals in building bridges between communities and inspiring peace efforts. Of course, friendship is naturally an important part of sport and one of the three core values of Olympism. From a young age, playing sport is a way to foster lifelong friendships in a fun but competitive environment. While at elite level, friendship is often a key characteristic of a successful team.
The International Netball Federation (INF), for example, launched an online competition to give two best friends the chance to win matching netball dresses. All fans had to do was tag a friend and comment their favourite thing about them to enter. This competition was a great initiative, encouraging social media engagement while spreading positive messages of friendship.
Several other IFs also engaged their global fanbases via social media. The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) encouraged volleyball and beach volleyball fans to tag their friends on various social media channels. Meanwhile, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and International Cricket Council (ICC) encouraged fans to post pictures of their badminton friends and cricket squads respectively.
In addition, the International Korfball Federation (IKF), International Handball Federation (IHF), International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) all posted pictures demonstrating great friendships and inspirational teamwork at the highest level of their respective sports.
Several Winter IFs also got involved in the celebrations. The International Skating Union (ISU), for example, published a web story to celebrate the global nature of the figure skating family and the importance of friendship, even in an individual sport. Finally, World Curling posted a video clip with skip of the Swedish curling team Anna Hasselborg explaining that, in curling, your opponents are also your friends.