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“Sport can help build confidence and self-esteem”
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“Sport can help build confidence and self-esteem”

This week governments will meet in London to consider how sport can contribute to advancing vital development goals. The 6th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting will review how all types of games can address social and economic challenges and promote global public health.

But why is sport so important for national development? According to Eva Maria, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent originally from Russia now living in New Zealand, it promotes healthy lifestyles and helps individuals think as part of a team.

Having lived in New Zealand for most of my life, I feel to be lucky to have been exposed to a country that loves its sports. Sport as a concept plays many roles for all ages – it’s about national pride, fitness, health, well-being and socialising, among many other things.

The main question throughout primary and high school for me wasn’t ‘should I play sports?’ but rather ‘what sports should I play?’. For youth, sport is something that can help build confidence and self-esteem, widen social networks, and improve focus and health.

The world has come to the point where many sports have become a ‘trading game’ – it’s very rare to see a team play for a club or country they were all born and raised in, but it’s interesting, because when a team plays, it adds to the morale of a country – especially if it’s your own.

I’m thinking about the All Blacks’ win last year at the Rugby World Cup. The streets (and Facebook!) were filled with happy people, joining in with the celebration of a victory. Apart from the national pride aspect (which is important to instil in youth), the Cup led many more young people to join sports teams.

It’s inspiring to see your own team win, but it’s even more important to develop a country through promoting a healthy lifestyle for all its citizens. Compulsory PE class? I’m all for it! And not just for youths. Sport is for all ages: it’s for me, it’s for you, it’s important for us all. Whether we’re supporting it, playing it, indulging in a social game once in a while or at the end of the day, it’s envoking a sense of pride and, most importantly, teamwork.

The world really needs more people to start thinking of individuals near them as part of a team; part of their team. So sports can be a unifying activity, which will hopefully encourage more people to live in harmony around the world.

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About me:

I am a family coach, international speaker, social media expert and author of the bestselling parenting book ‘You Shut Up!’ Though Russian-born, I currently live in New Zealand, and today work with various groups, businesses and families.

I am on a full-on mission to help improve 10,000,000 adult-youth relationships around the world.”

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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/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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