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Filling the sports gap left by the coronavirus
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Filling the sports gap left by the coronavirus

The cancellation of sporting events due to the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on one of the most powerful forces for peace and unity in a time when the world needs it most, writes Alvin Ma, a 28-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Canada. He is hopeful that people across the globe will utilize other avenues to connect and work together.

Sports provide opportunities for collaboration and transformation at the local, national and international levels. As it stands now, however, with the cancellations of so many sporting events due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, those working in the field of sports have had to adjust to this new reality. The gap left by the cancellations of sporting events is undeniable.

As a specialist in sports research with a day job as an educator, I have been thrust into the role of a public health expert: presenting the message that we should remain calm, and relaying the simple steps of handwashing, physical distancing, and avoiding contact with the face.

I have also been observing the ignorance displayed by some persons (denying that the problem exists), panic (mass queuing at supermarkets), selfishness (hoarding or price gouging on essential health supplies), and racism (looking down on Asian faces with suspicion).

Given the limitations of sports at this time, other positive and transformative forces are needed to combat the negatives highlighted above.

Thankfully, numerous grassroots initiatives that value the collective good have been set up to connect communities. Although border closures appear to (temporarily) be the norm, we also see international collaboration among scientists as they work towards medical innovations to combat the coronavirus. Athletes are also doing their part, many are using their platforms to communicate important health messages.

On April 6, we will celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there will likely be no United Nations events to celebrate the day as there was last year. I, however, hope that the realization that we are all human will propel us to work together to create a COVID-19 free “Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming” as the theme for the Commonwealth Heads of Government 2020 meeting so aptly articulates.

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Image by Vektor Kunst iXimus from Pixabay

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About Alvin Ma: I’m a research assistant for the Centre for Sport Policy Studies at the University of Toronto. I also teach at a school for international students and serve as a private tutor for many students in various different subjects. Nicknamed “Captain,” I try to lead by example. I am an idealist and genuinely believe that students and youth from Commonwealth countries around the world can see a brighter future.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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