gAisf and iFma celeBrate young pEople at firsT uniteD ThrOugh youtH woRld Forum in bangKok
Almost 1,200 young people from 90 countries representing 50 sports took part in the United Through Youth World Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, held to highlight and celebrate the importance of sport for young people in displaced and disadvantaged communities all over the world.
Following an incredibly successful collaboration at SportAccord 2018, the International Federation of Amateur Muaythai (IFMA) once again came together to partner with United Through Sports to host the two-day event, which was supported by GAISF.
Ahead of the United Nations’ International Youth Day, celebrated annually on 12 August, the Forum was hosted in the United Nations ESCAP Conference Centre. GAISF President Patrick Baumann opened the Forum via video link, and other speakers included representatives from UNICEF, UNESCO, UN Women, Right to Play, the Thailand Doping Authority, IFMA, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
As well as the conference programme, the Forum also included a show-stopping Gala Awards evening where inspirational athletes were recognised. A true highlight of the ceremony was a special commendation for team spirit awarded to the Wild Boar football team, whose rescue captured the world’s attention after flash flooding left the team and their coach trapped in a Thai cave for 17 days earlier this year.
GAISF Vice-President and former Muaythai World Champion Stephan Fox highlighted the importance sport can play in young people’s lives, no matter their background:
“Sport teaches us all so many vital skills that are required, no matter how old we are or where we live. United Through Sport provides opportunities for young people to experience sport and gain these skills and, as the leaders of sports, we should focus our attention on creating platforms for all to play.”
The Forum drew to a close with a cultural festival, celebrating the themes of “Unity and Diversity”.
During SportAccord 2018, the inaugural Thailand Sports Festival took over Centara Square in Bangkok, where more than 100 children participated in the United Through Sports opening of the festival. The Bangkok Sports festival incorporated 58 different Olympic and non-Olympic federations to celebrate the rich diversity of Thailand’s sports and culture.