Chungju, Republic of Korea

24 August 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 World Rowing Championships

Good evening everyone!

Thank you very much for your warm welcome.

I am delighted to celebrate the opening of the 2013 World Rowing Championships.

The United Nations is an international organization. So I am happy to see competitors from around the world.

Welcome to Korea. Welcome to Chungju, my hometown.

I thank the people of Chungju, and Mayor Lee Jong-bae. And I welcome all the athletes from all different countries.

Sport promotes peace and progress. I have seen this around the world: at the Olympics in London ... in the eyes of young people ... and in the triumph of persons with disabilities who show that the human spirit can beat any adversity.

The United Nations is using sports to help realize our vision for a better world.

You are also joining forces with international organizations. I applaud the strategic alliance between the International Rowing Federation and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Sport is a powerful weapon against discrimination. Athletes at professional games come together in a spirit of friendship. There is no room for any type of discrimination at sports events.

I count on you to be part of our team. Rowers know better than anyone the importance of moving together toward a common goal.

Your challenge is to win the race against each other. But we as a human family are in a race against time to address poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and climate change. The United Nations is leading a global effort to rise to the challenges of our day.

I wish everyone the best of luck in your competition at this year’s Championships. I know that when it comes to making our world a better place, you are all already all winners. And I wish you all the best.

Thank you.