IAAF President Sebastian Coe helped celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Aruba Athletics Federation on Wednesday (19), capping a two-day visit to the Caribbean island nation.
Coe joined several local dignitaries at the event in the capital Oranjestad, including Aruba's Minister of Education, Science and Sustainable Development Armando Lampe, as well as officials from the country's national athletics governing body and national Olympic committee.
Coe also visited the Guillermo Prospero Trinidad National Stadium where he met with some of the country's athletes, members of local clubs and a representative of the Ministry of Tourism, Public Health, and Sports. The facility, whose track was laid more than three decades ago, hosts and caters to athletes of all abilities, who range in age from four to more than 60. But with just a six-lane track and no dedicated throws areas on the infield, the stadium can't be used to host international competitions.
At a meeting at the Government House, Coe met with Lampe and representatives from the Prime Minister's office and the ministries of sport and finance to discuss the role that sport can play - athletics in particular as the mother of all sports - in the wider national agenda, and the ways that its benefits can impact health, social cohesion and economic development policy. The discussions also stressed the importance of collaboration between the federation and the national Olympic committee in strategic sport policy planning.
"Sport is everyone's business," said Coe. "Active lifestyle habits start at school with the right coaches, the right teachers, the right activities and the right facilities."
The government representatives agreed to a commitment to introduce athletics and a programme of physical activity into the school curriculum and to work with the federation to provide coaching and to help deliver competitions in schools. The government also agreed to work with the IAAF and the International Athletics Foundation to upgrade the facility in order to meet international standards so it can host international competitions.