4,000 young athletes from around the world came together to participate in the 2018 Youth Olympics celebrating sport, culture, education and above all making friends. A special event was held on the 8th August, demonstrating the Olympic values and the beauty of life. The charity event took place in tandem with the Olympism in Action forum, organized by the International Olympic Committee which brought together Olympic movement stakeholders and civil society to share experiences, inspiring stories, challenging questions, intricate dialogues and above all, to discuss how sports can create positive change around the world. Sport has so many stories, it creates hope and can make a difference whereby at the core Olympic humanity is key.
The SportAccord Convention in Bangkok was deemed a big success, with special social initiatives for displaced children and those with different abilities. Two children from Thailand had their dream come true through an incentive program and earnt the chance to be a part of the Youth Olympic experience. In addition to their participation, was the attendance of Thailand’s Wild Boar Team who became one of the world’s most known 2018 football teams. The 12 boys and their coach had been trapped inside a dense cave for over two weeks in July and against all odds, through their unified spirit and an international effort, they all survived.
The team delivered a powerful message of hope and strength to the youth of Argentina. A special thank you must go to the IOC for inviting the Wild Boar team to Buenos Aires where they came together with the Thai children to showcase bravery, and that when the world unites anything is possible. The Thai children came together to inspire others for the befitting event “Kids help kids”. They demonstrated a beautiful Muaythai performance for the audience of youth and sporting delegates.
GAISF Vice-President Stephan Fox stated “ I would like to thank everyone who contributed to make some dreams come true and to give back to the one’s in need. Our late President and our friend had the slogan: One voice in sport and one voice we are, towards the youth of the world”.
Many from the Olympic and GAISF family came to support the event including President of ARIFS and GAISF Vice-President Raffaele Chiulli, CEO of World Games Joachim Rassow and Executive Member Volker Bernardi. President of Jujitsu Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, Netball’s General Secretary Clare Briegal and Fistball came with a large delegation led by President Karl Weiss to name a few. The IOC and SportAccord was represented by the late President Patrick Baumann which despite having had a high-profile invitation to another event, chose to inspire the youth not only with his presence but with an emotional speech in Spanish. It was to be the last time they would see the former president but there is no doubt they will remember him forever. Thailand’s IOC member Khunying Patama and Pichai Chunhavajira the President of the Thailand Boxing Association were also members of the audience showing support on behalf of Thailand . There were many representatives from AIMS and ARIFS, Argentina showed presence from both the Olympic Committee and the Sports Ministry where the list goes on. The event was a success and the goal was achieved giving the youth hope for a better tomorrow.
The late President Baumann also received an honorary Ajarn certificate and uniform from IFMA for his services in the world of sport and humanity. IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox a former Muaythai Champion donned his traditional uniform to take the children through a special workout and combined ancient traditions and healthy lifestyle.