Farzana Fayeq (Afghanistan) on the Ways Olympic Values Can Inspire a National Focus on the Future

June 14, 2012

The Olympic Games started for the first time at Olympia in Greece in 776 BC. Scholars say that the first Games were a result of a peace agreement between the city-states of Elis and Pisa. Today, the Olympic values are still based on peace, honor, and fairness. Olympic values promote friendship among nations and provide opportunities for cultural exchanges. The Olympic Games are a friendly competition that leads to a more peaceful and better world. They provide an opportunity for connections between different societies and bring people together from all over the world. Participating in such an event helps to build friendship between nations as well as respect for human dignity regardless of country, race, religion, politics, and gender.
Afghanistan is learning about the Olympic Games and its values by watching television, and the people are very interested! Participation in the Olympics would provide an opportunity for Afghanistan to connect with the world. Afghanistan has had three decades of war and has lost most of its infrastructure, including sport complexes. It is a post war country that has never had the chance to participate in the International Olympics. Two athletes from Afghanistan have done quite well: in 2010, one Afghan got first place in wrestling; and in 2012, another athlete got first place in boxing. They received a lot of attention when they got home!

It would be healthy for Afghan people to get involved in the Olympic Games to change their focus from the past to a new and brighter future, to build a successful nation that is not only known for terrorism. If I am selected for the Olympic Values Essay Competition, I will be an ambassador for Afghanistan—and speak about the achievements in my country since 2001. I want to be a voice for change for the people of Afghanistan. The new generation is enthusiastic and motivated to learn about the modern world’s values such as sports, democracy, and freedom of speech. Olympic values encourage peace-building and national unity. In a recent U.S. Embassy weekly newsletter, a sports program in Wardak province was highlighted. The public affairs section interviewed some young athletes from a sports program that is a recipient of a grant from the U.S. Embassy. They said, “Before this we did not have adequate equipment to play football. Now we are fully equipped and hope that our teams will be a source of pride for Wardak province.” The coach added, “Participation in sports encourages youth to invest their energies in positive ways instead of engaging in violence or drug use.”

Through public learning and sports activities, Afghans are able to implement Olympic values in a local context. Therefore, exercise and stories based on the Olympics and what they stand for provide natural motivation for positive and healthy growth. Physical education and sports are part of a healthy life. Other benefits like friendship and peace among nations will hopefully bring peace to my country and the world.

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