Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1288, (24 - 30 March 2016)
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1288, (24 - 30 March 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Going regional

The Egyptian Sports Culture Association held a series of events in Luxor and Aswan. Inas Mazhar was at the ancient cities

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The event started in Luxor with the official announcement of the creation of the African Sports Culture Association and the Arab Sports Culture Association. It was the Egyptian Sports Culture Association (ESCA) which had taken the initiative to invite members from African and Arab countries to join in forming the two associations.

“ESCA was formed in 2011 and joined the International Sports Culture Association (ISCA) in 2014,” explains ESCA president Ashraf Mahmoud. “While attending ISCA congress meetings in 2014 and 2015, we were shocked to find that all the continents were members in ISCA with the exception of Africa. We were the only representatives in 2014. The following year, we found colleagues from Nigeria and together we agreed to launch steps for the founding of an African association. ISCA officials were thrilled with the news and blessed our steps,” Mahmoud said.

“We chose Luxor to host the meetings because of its great history and were glad to launch two associations: African and Arab, with Egypt as president of both associations, being the founding member,” Mahmoud added.

Later, ESCA held a two-day conference, ‘The collective responsibility to protect Arab sports’. The conference which was held under the auspices of Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr and Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz, tackled the roles of stakeholders in the business to protect Arab sports.

All five sessions had a high attendance turnout as the conference discussed the roles of governments, sports federations, sports dignitaries, pioneers and media in protecting sports. The officials concerned were keen to speak to the audience about the problems facing sports and shared with them their vision about solutions that would help protect it.

The Luxor events culminated with a 2.5km walking marathon which saw the participation of all participants in the conference as well as school and university students. The marathon which started from the Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple, was held under the slogan ‘Sports is Civilisation’.

There were no winners that day. “It wasn’t actually a race but a message to the world that sports is a reflection of the culture and civilisation of the nation,” Mahmoud said.

Nevertheless, to give the event realism, medals of participation were presented in appreciation for those who participated in the marathon, as well as sports officials, athletes, coaches and referees.

The events then moved to Aswan but this time to share with the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) celebrations marking their 17 goals for sustainable development. The celebrations came along with the opening of the two-day Games of the Non-Olympic Sports. The participating teams each played as they dubbed one of the goals of the UN.

On the first day, participants carried the UN banners and goals as they marched two kilometres from the hotel to the Aswan Youth Centre to take on the competition.

While teams competed in football, volleyball, basketball and table tennis, other groups of university students joined special workshops held to educate young people on how to face practical life and apply for jobs. The participants were divided into groups who rotated among workshops and sports activities.

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