Seminar on Winter Sports
A day before the opening of the maiden Winter Youth Olympic Games 2012 (WYOG) in Innsbruck, the European gathering has focused on the participation of young migrants in winter sports for the first time.
While in many other sports the participation of children with migration backgrounds is a matter of course, they aren’t visible in winter sports – neither as active sportsmen or sportswomen nor as trainers or officials.
The European seminar “Involving Young Migrants in Winter Sports” has been opened by a representative of the city of Innsbruck and Bart Ooijen from the Sport Unit of the European Commission on Thursday, 12 January 2012). The Austrian winter sport was represented by members of the Sledge Association, the EBEL (Ice Hockey League) and the Sportunion Innsbruck.
More than 40 NGOs, sports organisations, associations, youth trainers and workers, groups of migrant self-organisation and scientists from 14 different countries have participated at the seminar in the Haus der Begegnung (Rennweg 12, Innsbruck).
The seminar was the first European-wide platform for an in-depth debate and discourse about the integration of young migrants in winter sports, the problem of their underrepresentation and the absence of minorities in traditional winter sports.
Supporting Migrants in Skiing
Organiser Bella Bello Bitugu from FairPlay. Different Colours. One Game at the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC) said before the opening:
“In the debate about the integrative potential of sports, we have mainly dealt with football up until now. The parents of the current Austrian football player of the year and FC Bayern player are from the Philippines and Nigeria. But what about winter sports, where can we find the David Alabas and the Mirna Jukics?
Sport associations are slowly realising, that they have to get active. Peter Schröcksnadel, the president of the Austrian Skiing Federation, said a short time ago that "the key issue for the future of the Austrian national sport - Skiing, is the encouragement of youth with migration backgrounds”.
The seminar explored how sports clubs and associations can become more open to and integrate these groups in winter sports and how winter sports can be made more attractive to young migrants.
Download the report of the Seminar "Involving Young Migrants in Winter Sports"in Innsbruck in January 2012