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How Do Sports Unite Countries | The Uniting Power of Sports in a Divided World

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The unifying strength of sports in the world

Sport serves as a special and vital connecting thread that unites individuals across and within societies in a world that is frequently divided. The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in January had the subject “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” which was both a sobering description of the situation of the world and a crucial call to action for all of humanity. The stadiums we pack to support our favorite teams and players or the fields where we play together for fun and exercise are among the most potent places where we can come together as individuals, regardless of background or beliefs. 

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How Do Sports Unite Countries | The Uniting Power of Sports in a Divided World | KreedOn
Image Source: The Cougar Chronicle

Athletes from North and South Korea marched together during the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, demonstrating once more the strength of sport. Even a combined women’s hockey team from the two countries will compete, in what the New York Times dubbed “the most spectacular act of rapprochement between them in a decade.” If we wish to find ways to use sport to bridge the gaps that separate us, we must acknowledge and take note of the unifying influence of these and other instances. 


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Role of sports in eliminating conflicts in the world

The world is a broken spot. There’s contention between nations all around the globe and furthermore, struggle inside nations as we become siloed with other people who share our qualities and convictions. However, over the entire course of time, individuals have gathered as teammates and spectators on neighborhood fields and in crowded stadiums, putting their differences aside for the benefit of their teams.

Image Source: Olympics.com

The Olympic Games were the beginning of sport’s contribution to the resolution of conflict. Iphitos, king of Elis, received advice from the Delphi Oracle in the ninth century BC to organize an athletic event to put a stop to the war that was raging in Greece at the time. Iphitos won the support of his fellow monarchs and established the custom of the Olympic Truce, which calls for the cessation of all regional hostilities for seven days before and after the Games every four years. A corresponding UN resolution is passed every year, and the Olympic Truce was reinstated during the modern Games in 1994. It continues to be an ideal of the Olympic movement. 


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Amends for resolving conflicts 

Over time, world leaders have persisted in using sports as a tool to re-establish diplomatic communication and make amicable gestures on a global scale. China’s “ping-pong diplomacy,” whereby the Chinese government invited US players to exhibition matches in their nation in April 1971, is possibly the most well-known example of this. Since 1949, Americans have not been permitted to enter the nation until this point. President Nixon’s historic visit to China less than a year later put an end to the 25 years of no contact or diplomatic relations between the two nations and paved the way for their restoration in 1979. 

How Do Sports Unite Countries | The Uniting Power of Sports in a Divided World | KreedOn
Image Source: Vivi Nation

Nelson Mandela also understood the special ability of athletics to reconcile and heal a bitterly divided South Africa. Mandela made an appearance on the field following the 1995 Rugby World Cup victory of the Springboks while sporting the team’s characteristic green jersey and cap, which came at a period of intense controversy surrounding his election as the nation’s first black president. White South Africans, who were the majority in the crowd at the Johannesburg stadium, were initially shocked but soon began yelling “Nelson! Nelson!” and this will go down in history as the pinnacle of how sports can unite people. 


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Maintaining amiable relations via sports in world

There are also additional instances of how sports can bring people together, such as the pro tennis doubles duo of India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, who had years of success together despite their countries’ frequent hostilities. In order to support a common goal, supporters from both nations would pack the stadiums for their matches, including, at the 2010 US Open, their respective ambassadors to the UN. The squad used the moniker “Indo-Pak Express” and launched the “Stop War, Start Tennis” campaign. More people from Pakistan and India were arriving. They were all seated in the crowd together. Who is Indian and who is Pakistani could not be distinguished. That is the magnificence of sports. That is the magnificence of our playing. 

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How Do Sports Unite Countries | The Uniting Power of Sports in a Divided World | KreedOn
Image Source: The Express Tribune

The interconnection of sports & fans

Sometimes words like great, mind-blowing, marvelous, and astonishing sound commonplace. The ability to describe the thrilling FIFA World Cup final also seems to be lacking. Goosebumps and skipping several heartbeats… I could go on and on about football, even though I don’t watch it or have much experience with it. On Sunday (18th December 2022) however, there was a reason for the increased vigour: the legendary Lionel Messi.


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The force of football is essentially captivating. In a world destroyed by biases, approvals, and difficulty, to see a game and character joining us to support one group, or rather one individual, is reviving. Recalling 2011, when India played the ICC World Cup last against Sri Lanka, everybody believed India should win since it was Sachin Tendulkar‘s last World Cup. One can’t contrast the ubiquity of football and cricket, and everybody was pulling for Messi to win the World Cup as it was his last competition. It helped us to remember 2011.

Image Source: Times Now

The world came together to fight Covid two or three years ago. We merged together because we needed to win the war to survive.

It was wonderful to observe that there is no need for a pandemic to bring people together and set aside their differences. That’s how world react to sports. As viewers, we exclaim, cry, and experience the full spectrum of emotions. Praying for your team or players demonstrates how connected you are on an instinctual level. They are willing to pray or battle for the players even though they are not related to or even familiar with them. It’s all very powerful; it’s absolutely motivating. 

Image Source: DHL

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Important takeaway 

Many people think that athletics can play a crucial and constructive role in addressing and addressing racism and intolerant behaviours. Evidently, when there is so much hopelessness, sports bring optimism. Sports liberated individuals from the stigma of discrimination that pervaded cultures in the middle of racial barriers. Due to their involvement in teams, players of various ethnicities and colors are treated equally when playing in games. We may interact with one another in athletics without adhering to racist assumptions that emphasize the superiority of a particular color, race, or gender.

Image Source: La Liga

Sports also consistently strengthen the world’s population’s solidarity and friendship through international tournaments and competitions. As a result, opportunities arise to learn about values, societal norms, and other aspects of other cultures and countries. Contemporary sports increase the flow of information, providing the chance for countries to interact and forge ties. Similar to education, learning sports is linked to morality because it fosters positive character traits that boost self-esteem, particularly in young people, where research has shown that sport has the power to lessen the severity of social problems and address some of them, such as delinquency, deviance, and social adjustment issues.


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What is the role of sports in uniting the nation?

Sport serves as a special and vital connecting thread that unites individuals across and within societies in a world that is frequently divided. Over time, world leaders have persisted in using sports as a tool to re-establish diplomatic communication and make amicable gestures on a global scale.

Why sports are important in international relations?

Being a part of universal culture, sport is an important means of connecting different people of the world. It is an activity that contributes to world peace.

How many sports are in world?

There are more than 200+ recognized sports around the world.

What is the 10 most popular sport in the world?

Soccer/football
Badminton
Field Hockey
Volleyball
Basketball
Tennis
Cricket
Table Tennis
Baseball
Golf

Which is the most popular sport in India?

In India, Cricket is the most popular spectator sport in the country. This sport has a huge fan following in India and is regarded as both a sport and a pastime. 

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Ayushi Bhatti
Ayushi Bhatti
I am Ayushi Bhatti, a graduate of B.A. English Honours from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi. Currently, I am pursuing M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Sharda University. Over the years, I have attained proficiency in the English language through my consistent hard work and efficient writing skills. I have formerly written content for several prestigious platforms and some of them are NDTV Lifestyle Swirlster, LernEzy, Yhills, Kreedon, Zee Media. I have also been doing freelance writing besides writing articles, blogs, advertisements for campaigns, and website content. I possess the capability to write insightful and lucid content to bewitch my readers.

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