The International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) provides a unique opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the importance of sport in society and on how sport and physical education programmes can be used as tools to help combat challenges such as extreme poverty, conflict and HIV/AIDS and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Sport and physical education play a vital role at all levels of society. For the individual, sport enhances one’s personal abilities, general health and self-knowledge. On the national level, sport and physical education contribute to economic and social growth, improve public health, and bring different communities together. On the global level, if used consistently, sport and physical education can have a long-lasting positive impact on development, public health, peace and the environment.
Access to and participation in sport and physical education provide an opportunity to enjoy social and moral inclusion for populations otherwise marginalized by social, cultural or religious barriers due to gender, disability or other distinctions. Through sport and physical education, individuals can experience equality, freedom and a dignifying means for empowerment. The control over one’s body experienced while practicing sport is particularly valuable for girls and women, for people with disabilities, for those living in conflict areas, for people recovering from trauma.