Spectators in Dortmund, Competitors at the Friendship Games
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Delighted to be in Dortmund and delighted to be at the Friendship Games
Photo By: Remy Gros
Welcome visitors to the LIEBHERR World Team Championships earlier this year in Dortmund was a group of young people from Burundi.
They were present thanks to “Ping Pong Paix”, a programme organised by the ITTF Development Department in conjunction with Peace and Sport, an organisation based in Monaco that utilises sport as a means of promoting peace in areas of conflict.
In Dortmund the youngsters were able to meet the German stars, Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Now more recently they have been able to compete in international competition.
Staged in Gihanga Table tennis was one of many sports on offer at the 3rd Friendship Games staged on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th July 2012 in Gihanga, a town in the Bubanza province of Burundi.
Over 250 young people took part in an event designed to promote peace and understanding in the Great Lakes region of Africa, an area which in modern history has suffered greatly from the ravages of civil war and ensuing poverty.
Rwanda Competed for First Time Notably, Rwanda a country that has suffered more than most, competed in the Friendship Games for the first time.
"The success of the 3rd Friendship Games shows that we have succeeded in working together, motivated by the common values of friendship and fraternity that sport conveys; the event continues to grow”, said Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport. “Beyond the Games, we have developed an extensive peace-building programme that uses sport to encourage national unity in the Great Lakes region; initiatives of this type will enable us to make a real difference to the lives of those most in need, through sport and youth centres.”
Table Tennis Included A most successful event was concluded with the Friendship Games now established as an event and set to grow; table tennis being one of the integral sports.
The Friendship Games in Burundi were made possible thanks to the efforts and co-operation of: the National Olympic Committees and the Ministries of Youth and Sport and Olympian Associations from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.
Furthermore, there was support from the non-governmental organisation named the Centre for Training, Sports Education and Community Development (CFESDC) , the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plus the United Nations Mission for the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Table tennis was a popular sport on offer at the Friendship Games in Gihanga Photo courtesy of Ludovic Hubler