Media Release

Samoan Children Join in the Commonwealth Youth Games Fun

EMBARGOED until 00:01 Samoa Time 8 September 2015

APIA, SAMOA, 8 September 2015 – More than 1,000 children from across Samoa are taking part in OFC Just Play Festivals celebrating the power and potential of sport, as part of the Commonwealth Youth Games Athlete Personal Development programme.

Having kicked-off activities on September 7th, on the opening day of competition, the excitement from the field was palpable as children and athletes from around the globe took part side-by-side in OFC Just Play activities.

Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg said: “Our vision is to inspire Commonwealth athletes to drive the ambition and impact of all Commonwealth citizens through sport.  The UNICEF supported Just Play Festivals, connecting local school children with our young Commonwealth athletes, are an inclusive and inspiring example of how communities can come together, support each other and tackle big issues on the level playing field of sport”.

With this vision in mind, from September 7th to the 11th, athletes in the Commonwealth Youth Games and children from local community schools will engage in OFC Just Play Festivals delivered by the Football Federation of Samoa and workshops sessions facilitated by the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group.

As part of the Festival programme athletes and children alike will participate in fun, interactive sessions focusing on health, gender, inclusion and protection.  As part of a key programme in the Pacific region, Just Play, developed by the Oceania Football Confederation, is using sport to help children develop healthy lifestyle habits, encourage gender equality, promote social inclusion, insist on sport for all and help children become confident in their abilities.  Every day throughout the Pacific the OFC Just Play programme reaches out to thousands of children, helping them to grow, learn and explore through sport.

“Merging the magic of the Games with the Just Play programme has helped the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to once again highlight the power and potential of sport within the region and across the globe.  Making a positive impact on children’s lives in the region, Just Play is an integral part of UNICEF’s efforts to focus on the holistic development of children and communities,” said Dr. Karen B. Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

OFC President and FIFA Vice-President David Chung says the Commonwealth Youth Games provide an excellent platform for sharing the important Just Play messages with children from around the world.

“It is not too long ago that the All Blacks were in Samoa being introduced to the OFC Just Play programme, and now athletes from across the globe have the same opportunity to experience the power of sport for development.

It is exciting for us to be working alongside the Commonwealth Games Federation and our partners to make a positive impact on children through sport”.

Delivered in partnership with the Australian and New Zealand governments, the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Foundation for Children, UNICEF and the Football Federation of Australia – and for these activities, the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games Organising Committee – Just Play is making a difference in the Pacific, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to realise their full potential.

About the Commonwealth Youth Games Athlete Development Programme
The Commonwealth Youth Games Personal Athlete Development Workshops and OFC Just Play Festivals are fun, interactive sessions within which athletes can engage and experience what it means to be a Commonwealth athlete, understand how sport can be used to contribute to society, learn about the rights of young people taking part in sports and experience a sport for development programme first hand.

The Commonwealth Youth Games Workshop programme is being delivered by the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group (CYSDP), a network of young leaders from across the globe, supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The OFC Just Play Festivals are being delivered by the Football Federation of Samoa, in partnership with UNICEF Pacific.

To experience some of the excitement, please visit us at the Football Federation of Samoa, from 1:00-3:00 pm daily from September 7-11th.

About the Commonwealth Youth Games
Over 1000 athletes and officials are on the small island nation of Samoa for the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games from 5-11 September 2015 – a joyous celebration of impactful sporting performance, personal development and international friendship.  The Games feature 926 athletes from 65 Commonwealth countries, mostly aged 14-18, aiming for 107 Gold Medals in 9 sports over 5 days of competition.

Since their inception in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Youth Games have for some, like Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya, provided the springboard to future Commonwealth Games and World Championship glory.  For many others, the Games offer a first taste of international multi-sport competition, nurturing young global sporting citizens on the level playing field of sport.

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

About Just Play
The OFC Just Play programme is a sport for development programme that helps children to grow, learn and explore through sport. Just Play gives a child a ball, a coach and a safe place to play. The programme shows children how to have fun with other children, be physically active and become confident in their abilities. Through the integration of social messages, Just Play helps children to develop healthy lifestyle habits, encourages gender equality and leaders in the community, promotes social inclusion and insists on sport for all. For more information on the programme please visit: www.justplayofc.org

About OFC
OFC is charged with the task of servicing and administering football in the Oceania region while also using the game as a tool for social development. The Confederation is led by OFC President David Chung who was elected to office in 2011.

The OFC Just Play Programme is designed and monitored by the OFC Social Responsibility department, in partnership with the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission, the New Zealand Government, Football Federation Australia, UEFA and UNICEF. For more information about OFC or its 11 Member Associations visit: www.oceaniafootball.com

For more information, please contact:
Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Pacific
dhoerder@unicef.org

Jacqueline Tran Van, Oceania Football Confederation
jacqueline@oceaniafootball.com

Martin Reynolds, Commonwealth Games Federation
m.reynolds@thecgf.com

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