What's up: Integrity in sports

What's up: Integrity in sports

In this month’s What’s up student column our volunteers Pol, Cristina, Kinga, Benjamin and Špela elaborated on the Youth Integrity Ambassadors Programme project and on the topic of integrity in sport.
Alongside mentors Kiki Hristova and Jan Martin Jamnik, and EUSA Student Commission member Awena Guiner, these volunteers were part of EUSA young representatives team as a partner in the YIAP Project, on the Training Course held in middle of February in Lisbon, and were since then also carrying out activities in the environments where they are currently residing.

“The Youth Integrity Ambassador Program training course provided me with an incredible opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge about sports integrity and how to apply it in our local communities. The program gave me the prospect to learn in a variety of fields, ranging from the entrepreneurship of project planning, management, and communication skills campaigns to sports values like inclusion, equality, fair play, and leadership, with an overall understanding of how this combines with integrity. Playing basketball with representatives from Special Olympics Europe and Eurasia, for example, emphasized inclusiveness and diversity by allowing everyone to participate. The outcome of the project was to start brainstorming and designing a local activity for when we returned home and execute this activity in our local community, by learning about program dissemination skills in order to promote the project’s outcomes at the European level. Overall, the project gave me the competencies and tools necessary to be an Integrity Ambassador in sports.” – said Cristina.

“The whole course was about Sports integrity, what this is, how to promote it and why it is so important for us to so. I found it very helpful and interesting, not in a sense that this was something new to me, it is just something I never thought about from that perspective. For me it was always a common sense that you play fair, include as many different people as you can in activities and train hard rather than take some substances that help you win. You must still be competitive though, just also fair. For half of my life, I was competing in sports and even now I’m playing it for fun, so I’ve seen a lot of good and bad practises of integrity. For me it all starts with individuals, you are the one who decide to play fair, encourage people who are not as good as you in to play with you or cheer in fair manner on sport events. It is sad that some bad practises are nowadays rooted deep that it will be hard to change them, but I believe together we can do it. Don’t wait for change, be the change.” – said Benjamin.

“The main goal of the Youth Integrity Ambassadors Program is to engage and empower young people to promote and defend integrity in sports.
In my personal opinion, the YIAP Training was an excellent opportunity to meet with like-minded young fellow students and athletes who are also involved in the sports world to connect with each other and share their personal opinions and experiences. Throughout the one-week of training course, 36 participants took part and became youth integrity ambassadors at the end of the training.
It was a great occasion to learn about diversity, accessibility, leadership, project management, communication tactics, tools, playing sports and so much more that enabled us to plan our own integrity-related outreach initiatives in the contexts of our own communities.” – said Kinga.

“Participating in the training course within the YIAP project gave me the chance to reflect about the word integrity in the field of sports. In the beginning, I was expectant because I could not understand how we would talk about sports integrity for a whole week. But now, I am aware that it might encompass plenty of topics like racism, match-fixing, doping or discrimination amongst others. My perspective changed and I am grateful for it. Sports integrity is a hot topic nowadays, and it should be addressed in all sports organisations and federations agendas. From my side, I feel prepared to contribute to the issue in a small-scale dimension like, for example, in our community. I really want to act as an ambassador using my energy and knowledge to help as many people as possible. To finish, I just want to say one last thing: “Let's all be ambassadors. It is the only way to promote and give visibility to those topics we are capable of understanding”. – said Pol.

“The phrase »sports integrity« means being educated in sports behaviour so that you are familiar with and abide by general non-written rules like fair-play, kindness and respect towards others. At the same time, it means that we accept others, we don't judge them on the basis of race, religion, gender, appearance, abilities and other things. The YIAP project broadened my horizons about the meaning of the word integrity with a series of interesting lectures and workshops on this topic. At the same time, it encouraged me to think about how to solve problems related to sports integrity and how each individual can contribute to this. In addition to theoretical work, we were also able to test integrity in practice, as we had participants from different countries, religions, races, and above all, I am glad that athletes with special needs also took part in the event. The project certainly gave me a better understanding of the importance of integrity and gave me ideas on how to spread the acquired knowledge further among people.“ - said Špela. 

Are you a student with an opinion? We are looking for new contributors for our student column every month. Feel free to contact stc@eusa.eu to offer a piece or propose a topic.