Greetings to you sports lovers.
Today I am back with another area of interest which has been ignored or people shy away from talking about it. Abuse of sports men and women happens each and every day and something needs to be done about it. The abuse comes from coaches, administrators even from fellow athletes.
Not only do athletes suffer from not having enough equipment to do their preparations for the upcoming events, they also get dribbled over their hard-earned allowances. In short, these smiley athletes we in photos on their social media platforms have more challenges around them than just those smiles. Some of them are hated by coaches whom they have refused to give tips. I know of some football player who was stopped from featuring for the men’s national team some time back because he refused to surrender part of his allowance to the leadership that time.
I understand that there is something being done to stop such vises through ‘safe sport’.
Through this sport, associations in Zambia are working together with the Norwegian Olympic- and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) in coming up with safeguarding policies and regulations to provide a way for sport associations to address abuse and promote “safe sport”.
However, much more needs to be done to protect the future stars of this country.
In recent years, formalised safeguarding in sport has gained ground within sport governance in many Western countries – and beyond. Moreover, safeguarding policies are sometimes integrated in transnational Sport for Development partnerships which has been a challenge for our sports federations.
Sport in our country is portrayed as a safe arena for youth. Nevertheless, issues such as aggressive coaching methods, unhealthy athlete ideals among others are not totally addressed.
Having interacted with coaches, athletes and administrators in the last seven years, the forms of harassment and abuse include verbal, gender, sexual, and neglect, among many others. To avoid or create a good environment for all our sports men and women, sports organisations should develop a policy, including an action plan for the prevention of harassment and abuse.
I am glad that some sports organisations such as Sport In Action, NOWSPAR, among others, have been implementing such programmes.
But this should go down to sports federations so that they develop and implement mandatory procedures on how to handle cases of sexual harassment and abuse, including complaint procedures and punitive measures for perpetrators. Once this is done, it will develop respect and awareness among everyone in sport. Athletes will be free or open to discuss what is happening on the ground and things like workshops on abuse should be implemented.
To the government, you are the major stakeholder because you are the policy maker. Therefore, come up with policies that will help our athletes. Looking forward to interacting and sharing more ideas with you.
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