The 17th of April was a historical day in the world of sport with the official launch of the United Through Sport (UTS) initiative during the SportAccord Convention 2018 held in Bangkok.
The Bangkok Sport Festival and UTS initiative was under the full patronage of the IOC and to show his support, IOC President Dr.Thomas Bach was keynote speaker at the opening conference of the festival. The President made a heartfelt speech congratulating the GAISF Vice President Mr Stephan Fox for his initiative and thanks was also given to United Through Sport CEO Mrs. Julia Govinden.
The President outlined the goal of the Olympic movement, with emphasis on the Olympic spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. He highlighted the importance of the opening ceremony in PyeongChang with the unified Korean team reminding us that sport does not build walls, today more than ever we need the unifying power of sport.
There were many welcoming speakers, including the GAISF President Patrick Baumann, President of ASOIF Francesco Ricci-Bitti and President of WADA Sir Craig Reedie.
The event was opened by the Minister of Tourism and Sport his excellency Weerasak Kowsurat with many other speakers; Joel Bouzou, Anna-Karin Jatfors, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, Giovanna Mondragon, Kevin Frey, Caroline Baxter Tresise, Nadin Dawani and Stanislas Frossard.
Julia Govinden delivered a highly emotional speech, showcasing the importance of forming alliances and today is a clear example of what can be accomplished if organizations unify towards our most important asset, the youth of the world. Julia then invited some of the children who were part of the opening festival to address the leaders of sport, which was not only touching but more so inspiring.
GAISF Vice President and AIMS President Stephan Fox stated that we do not need to be the same to be together. Sport has proven to have the ability to bring unity and peace to a divided world. With United Through Sport, we are united as one spirit, and we work to foster and promote Olympic values and Olympic humanity.