Sport for Tomorrow Programme Continues its Progress in Thailand: Japanese Undokai Event held in Udon Thani
Bangkok– As part of the Sport for Tomorrow, a Japanese government’s international cooperation through sport programme toward 2020, an Undokai event, or a Japanese traditional sports festival at schools, was held at Baan Pran Muan School, Muang District, Udon Thani Province, on 24 February 2015.
The event attracted over 300 students, teachers and parents, who joined in a variety of sporting activities including giant ball – a popular game with schoolchildren in Japan. The Undokai was organised jointly by the Japan Sport Council and Japan Sports Communications.
“Through the Sport for Tomorrow programme, the Japanese government aims to promote sport and the Olympic and Paralympic movements in countries throughout the world. This is one of the reasons that we organised the Undokai in Thailand. We believe that such activities will further enhance international cooperation and development,” said Takumi Kishi, Project Manager for Planning and Development at the Sport for Tomorrow Consortium Secretariat.
With the cooperation of a local non-government organisation, the Education for Development Foundation, Baan Pran Muan School was selected to host the event.
“As the school principal, I am delighted that Baan Pran Muan School and our students had the opportunity to take part in this event. One excellent aspect of the event was that the sporting activities were open to everyone – students, parents and teachers, which resulted in strengthening cooperation among all participants. I believe that everyone appreciated this unique opportunity to experience popular Japanese children’s games. The main purpose of the event is to promote healthy lifestyles and collaboration rather than winning competitions. But most importantly, the event contributed to strengthening Thai-Japanese relations, and family bonds by ensuring that parents and children had to cooperate with each other,” said Mr. Saksri Sinnork, Principal of Baan Pran Muan School.
Undokai is a family event that encourages children and their parents to take part in a range of sporting activities together. Japan Sports Communications organised popular Japanese games and activities for students at Baan Pran Muan School to experience, including giant ball rolling, tug of war, and hula-hoop chain. Children were divided into 4 teams (red, blue, pink and green) to compete against each other. More than 300 students from local kindergartens, and elementary and junior high schools, along with teachers and parents participated in the games and activities together.
At the end of the day, the result of the competition was announced with first place going to the Pink team, the runner-up was the Blue team, followed by the Red and Green teams.
This one-day event was a huge hit with children at the Baan Pran Muan School. Wuttichai Intarasongkroa, a 15-year-old student, said, “It was great fun taking part in the tug of war event, and all my friends in the team really enjoyed it too. I love sports and my dream is to become a football player like Ronaldo.”
Sirichai Sra-ubon, an 8-year-old student, was equally enthusiastic, “I had a fantastic time at the event. I particularly enjoyed the giant ball rolling game. For me, what was special about the event was that it gave us the chance to enjoy various kinds of sports in a single day, while also being able to exercise and play with friends”.
Besides Thailand, the Japan Sport Council organised the Undokai events in Laos, Malawi and Guatemala in February and March 2015. Through the Japanese traditional sporting event the Sport for Tomorrow has delivered values of sport to more than 2,000 school children and their families.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe announced the specific details of the Sport for Tomorrow programme at the 125th IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session in September 2013. The overriding aim of the programme is to encourage sporting activities and promote the Olympic and Paralympic values to people of all generations, and strive to leverage the power of sport to create a brighter future for all. The programme is targeted at more than ten million people in over 100 countries, including developing countries, over the seven-year period 2014–2020. The programme constitutes one of the international commitments made by the government of Japan towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Sport for Tomorrow Consortium Secretariat
About the Sport for Tomorrow:
The Sport for Tomorrow programme is one of the Japanese government’s commitments to leveraging the power of sport and further promoting the Olympic and Paralympic movements to create a brighter future for people throughout the world. The programme aims to implement a variety of sporting events and activities that will engage over ten million people in over 100 countries spanning a seven-year period, culminating in 2020. This will enable Japan to achieve its objectives of providing assistance to developing countries, training future sports leaders at new international sports academies, and protecting both athletes and the integrity of sport by promoting global anti-doping initiatives.
About the Sport for Tomorrow Consortium:
The Sport for Tomorrow Consortium was launched in August 2014 in order to align the concerned organisations in both the public and private sectors with a common vision. Chaired by representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the consortium’s Steering Committee is made up of key members of the Japanese sporting community with the remit of making the optimal use of existing resources. The Japan Sport Council served as its secretariat.