Grand Opening of Sports for All

Grand Opening of the 14th World Conference on Sport for All Liu Qi and Jacques Rogge attend and address the Opening Ceremony

Hosted by the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing Municipal Government, the opening ceremony of the International Olympic Committee’s 14th World Conference on Sport for All was held at the China National Convention Center in the Beijing Olympic Park on September 21, 2011. Liu Qi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Secretary of the Beijing Municipal CPC Committee and Chairman of Beijing Olympic City Development Association (BODA), and IOC President Jacques Rogge addressed the opening ceremony. Present at the opening ceremony were also Director of the General Administration of Sport of China and Chairman of Chinese Olympic Committee Liu Peng, Mayor of Beijing and Executive Chairman of BODA Guo Jinlong, IOC Vice President Zaiqing YU, IOC Executive Board Member and Vice Presidents Thomas BACH and Ser Miang NG, IOC Executive Board Member and President of the IOC Commission of Sport for All Sam RAMSAMY, IOC Honorary Member Zhenliang HE, President of the IOC Finance Commission Richard L. CARRION.

Liu Qi said in his address that since the establishment of the World Conference on Sport for All, it has served as an important platform to interpret the goal of the Olympic Movement, disseminate the concept of Sport for All, and exchange experiences in that regard. Initiated by the IOC and SportAccord, and with great efforts made by all countries and regions, Sport for All has been developing prosperously, promoting the advance of human society.

Mr. Liu said that China is a developing country with the largest population in the world, where the development of Sport for All is directly related to the health of Chinese people. The Chinese government has attached great importance to the development of Sport for All, and after years of efforts, the public fitness facilities and security have been improved, people’s awareness for fitness has been much enhanced, fitness methods have become more scientific and fitness activities have been greatly enriched. The development of Sport for All has brought benefits to the public and improved people’s health.

He also said that in post-Olympic times, promoting the balanced development of Sport for All and competitive sport and providing sufficient guarantees for the public’s health and happiness is one of the key points of Beijing’s strategy for a “Humanistic Beijing, Hi-tech Beijing, Green Beijing”. It is also a key evaluating indicator in building Beijing into a world city with the Chinese characteristics. During the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, Beijing will place great emphasis on transforming economic development modes, ensuring and improving people’s livelihood, and promoting the harmonious development of society, which will bring more powerful drive and more prospects for the development of Sport for All. This conference will definitely enhance our understandings of Sport for All, explore more channels for the implementation of Sport for All, and promote the great development of Sport for All in Beijing as well as in China.

Mr. Rogge said in his address that it is always a great pleasure to be back to the Olympic city of Beijing. Since the 2008 Games, he has visited China and Beijing each year and has seen how the Games have left an impressive sporting legacy to the Chinese people, and how much sports participation has increased, especially among the younger generation. China is a country in which Sport for All is closely linked to the daily lifestyle of its people. Thus choosing Beijing as the location for the 14th World Conference on Sport for All could not be more fitting.

He also expressed that everybody should have access to sport, and promoting Sport for All has always been an integral part of the Olympic Movement. The IOC tries to make this vision a reality through advocacy, programmes and the funding of activities at grassroots levels.

At the opening ceremony, Jacques Rogge awarded 3 IOC Sport for All grants to 3 organizations. The awards, which are granted for the first time, are Award for Healthy and Social Benefits of Sports Activities, Award for Programmes and Policies, and Award for Development and Promotion of Sport for All. An artistic performance was also presented at the opening ceremony.

The 3-day Conference will consist of discussions centering on 5 subjects — “Follow-up of the 2010 World Conference on Sport for All”, “Programmes and policies: the practical and theoretical foundations of Sport for All”, “Development and promotion of Sport for All, in particular the roles of different stakeholders”, “Health and social benefits of physical activity” and “Future directions”.

Different from previous conferences, this year’s will give more emphasis on interactive knowledge-sharing and the exchange of best practices. A statement on cases of Sport for All and awarding events will also be arranged for the first time. In order to give the participants a better idea on China’s achievements in promoting Sport for All and Beijing’s changes in the process of building a world city, as well as to leave them with a deep impression of the charm of Chinese civilization and the hospitality of the Beijing people, the organizing committee of the conference will arrange many sport for all related cultural events such as photo exhibitions, poster sessions, morning exercises, Sport for All performances, visits to Olympic venues, and a “Night in Beijing”.

The World Conference on Sport for All is a direct and effective means to carry on the Olympic Spirit. It has been dedicated since its formation to promoting the broad dissemination of the Sport for All philosophy across the globe. It pursues the promotion of health, fitness and well-being, and aims to encourage more people of all ages and abilities to participate in sports activities. To hold the World Conference on Sport for All in a country with the largest sports population in the world will greatly enrich the impact of Sport for All, drive the sustainable development of world Sport for All, and promote the healthy development of Sport for All in China.

Since the 1980s, the IOC has gradually recognized the significance of Sport for All. Mr. Samaranch once said that Sport for All is an effective means to achieve the Olympic goals, and the Olympic Games could not develop without Sport for All as its basis. In 1985, IOC established the Sport for All Commission, which proposed to hold World Conference on Sport for All. The 1st World Conference on Sport for All was held in Cologne, Germany in 1986, since when the Conference has been held biennially. In the usual course, a Final Declaration named after the hosting city will be issued at the closing of the Conference.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Tu Mingde, member of IOC Sport for All Commission and Vice Chairman of Chinese Olympic Committee. A total of over 600 participants including leaders of relevant departments of the State and Beijing City such as Feng Jianzhong, Lu Wei, Liu Jingmin, Wang Wei, and Jiang Xiaoyu; officials of IOC and SportAccord, officials and scholars from sports organizations, governmental organizations, institutional organizations of various countries and regions attended the opening ceremony.

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