Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), opened a Sport for Hope Centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday (15) in the presence of Haiti president Michel Martelly and United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Straight after the terrible earthquake that hit the country four years ago, the Olympic Movement, through the National Olympic Committee of Haiti, committed itself to providing aid to rebuild Haiti’s sporting infrastructure as part of the nation’s reconstruction process.
The centre, built at a cost of USD $18million, was a joint initiative between the IOC and its key stakeholders and the Haitian Government. The IAAF and Mondo financed the athletics track.
It comes just weeks after the signing of a historic agreement between the IOC and UN aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two organisations in projects designed to contribute to a better and more peaceful world through sport.
The Sport for Hope Centre features modern sporting facilities and will offer a wide range of educational programmes, health services and community activities aimed at rebuilding local communities, promoting social values and giving Haiti’s citizens a better future.
“The Sport for Hope Centre is open to all Haitians – from the young to the old, and from professional athletes to beginners,” said Bach. “It offers open access to a variety of sports thanks to the generosity and commitment of a number of our stakeholders. But just as importantly, it offers access to cultural, educational and social development programmes and the Olympic values.
“The opening of the Sport for Hope Centre here in Haiti is an example of how we can work successfully with other organisations to contribute to building a better world.”
The Sport for Hope Centre will provide elite athletes in Haiti and the entire region with state-of-the-art training conditions, and the country’s national sports federations with office space and facilities to improve the level of elite sport in the country. The principal beneficiaries, however, will be the young people, families and schools in the surrounding communities.
IOC for the IAAF