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17 July 2014
Ban Ki-moon Soccer.jpg
Secretary-General Visits Sports for Hope Centre, Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince (UN & IOC) - United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, attended the opening of the “Sport for Hope Centre” in Port-au-Prince, alongside the Republic of Haiti President Michel Martelly. President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach officially opened the facility that will see sport being used to promote development and positive social change.

“This “Sports for Hope Centre” is a welcome addition to the Haitian landscape.  It is a major new piece of infrastructure following the earthquake that devastated the nation four years ago.  It will provide athletes with high-level training conditions, and enable National Federations to improve the level of elite sport in the country.” Said the UN Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General continued.

“My hope is that we can create many more places like this one, where communities can improve the level of sport in their country and come together in a spirit of teamwork and shared purpose.”

“I wish all the best to the athletes of this Centre, particularly the young people who will fill these fields and facilities.  My message to you, particularly young people, is this:  Dream big.  Remain hopeful.  Be a leader.  Be a global citizen.  Help build a better future for Haiti and the world.”

UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke also attended the event in the Haitian capital. 

“Sport facilities such as the ‘Sport for Hope Centre’, are of great importance to local communities, we have come together today to celebrate the opening of this great facility and to hear of the future plans for its use. They all also play a crucial role in achieving and educating the population on the Millennium Development Goals.”

The Centre, built at a cost of USD 18 million, was a joint initiative between the IOC and its key stakeholders and the Haitian Government. It comes just weeks after the signing of a historic agreement between the IOC and UN aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two organisations in projects designed to contribute to a better and more peaceful world through sport.

The multipurpose complex is located on land donated by the Government of Haiti. It features two large indoor practice halls, an indoor competition hall with a spectator capacity of 2,500, and a number of outdoor courts and pitches. In all, 14 Olympic sports will be practised at the Centre: football, rugby, athletics, volleyball, basketball, handball, tennis, judo, taekwondo, boxing, karate, badminton, table tennis and weightlifting.

The complex also has three classrooms, offices, a fitness centre, a medical centre, changing rooms, a gazebo. A building for accommodation was constructed thanks to the financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

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