Press Releases

UNIS/INF/86
24 June 2005

A Day of Sport – UN Vienna Commemorates International Year of Sport and Physical Education

VIENNA, 24 June (UN Information Service)  -- Almost 200 young people participated in a Day of Sport, organized in Vienna today by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with the City of Vienna and Wiener Bäder (the municipal swimming pools) to commemorate the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. The main goal of the event was to raise awareness of the universal language of sport in bringing people together, and encourage young adults to lead healthy lives.

The Day of Sport comprised two events. “A physical education class with a difference” was held in the morning, at which Austria’s most successful volleyball club AON Hot Volleys and swimmer Maxim Podoprigora showed high school students from Vienna special warm-up routines. The aim was to give the students an idea of the exercises and dedication required of professional athletes.

In the afternoon, UNIS Vienna held a panel discussion at the Vienna International Centre, on the opportunities sport can offer to young people. Renowned representatives in the field of sports came together to share their views with the audience. Among the panellists were two-time sailing Olympic Medallist Roman Hagara, Professor Günter Amesberger from the University of Vienna, Gottfried Forsthuber, President of the Austrian Table Tennis Federation, and Istvan Szabo, organizer of the Vienna-Budapest marathon, who illustrated his presentation with a video on a five-day running and cycling event from Budapest to Vienna. “What is important in sports is not winning, but participating,” said Mr. Szabo. Dr. Ilan Fellmann, from the Department of Sports and International Sports Relations, represented the Austrian Federal Chancellery at the event.  Participants included students from Iowa State University of Science and Technology, United States, and from Klosterneuburg secondary school, Austria, as well as the media. 

The United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 2005 as the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, as a means to promote education, health, development and peace. Several UN organizations are already using the mobilizing value of sport to raise awareness of issues, and as a tool to help accomplish their missions in a variety of fields, from improving health and education, to promoting tolerance and respect for human rights.

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