Opinion

Florent Pietrus
Former Captain of the French Basketball Team and Champion for Peace

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10/06/2020 par Florent Pietrus

Sharing positive values through sport

It is important to convey the values and benefits of sport. It’s a commitment that is very close to my heart. Even today, in 2020, we still see too much hatred and racism in society around the world.

I have experienced shocking situations during my career and also in my life. Notably racism. It’s hurtful and it can really destroy a person. The best solution to fight against these scourges is to raise awareness at an early age. This is the kind of action that we do at Peace and Sport with children aged 8 to 13. For example, last December we implemented the Peace and Sport Methodology for children: we have created extracurricular peace-through-sport programs that show them that solidarity, mutual aid and respect are essential to the success of these activities and are therefore transposable into everyday life in later years.

In sport, ethnic, religious and social differences fade away. In a team, for example, in my case in basketball we have people from very different backgrounds who play as one team on the court. Sport is a unifying factor. I learned tolerance, diversity, solidarity, and of course a lot of things related to performance: surpassing oneself, self-sacrifice, and so on.

This is my first physical action with Peace and Sport. It wasn’t easy to find time when I was still active; now it’s going to be more feasible. I really enjoy sharing with all these young people and also with the other committed Champions for Peace. These athletes come from different countries, so we exchange information about the cultures and situations in their respective nations. It’s very enriching, and we really share the same message. The goal is to spread peace in the world. This ranges from very conflictual zones, particularly where there are wars, to areas of tension in France. There are needs everywhere.

Raising awareness among children is not that simple. You have to find a way to pass messages in a fun way. Sport is the perfect tool for this: children are more responsive and interested. And the adult/child barrier is also less present. Sport should therefore have even more room in our society and I will continue to commit myself to Peace and Sport to encourage all these children to have a good time and perhaps improve their future.

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