BRITISH Ambassador Stephen Lillie and Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat on Tuesday joined football fanatics in a celebration dubbed “Olympic Truce” highlighted by the holding of a football invitational tournament at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.
The Olympic Truce, organized by the British Embassy in Manila in cooperation with the city government, House deputy speaker for Rep. Ma.
Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and the Zamboanga Football Association, is a run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games set to be held in London in July.
It espouses the spirit of peace and unity and has been taking place across the globe.
The Zamboanga football invitational tournament dubbed “Time out for Football” was participated in by 120 players representing stakeholders of peace who demonstrated the power of sport as a tool for peace.
Salazar led in the ceremonial kick during the opening of the tournament while Lillie and Lobregat spearheaded the closing rite that was capped by the awarding of winners and presentation of certificates to participants.
The Western Mindanao State University Football Club bested nine otherteams during the exhibition games.
The other participating teams were from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, International Monitoring Team Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, Zamboanga City government, nongovernmental organization engaged in peace building, student athletes and the embassies of Australia, Norway, Malaysia and the US.
“I firmly believe that today’s games show how sports can bring people together, and that it can teach people the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. With excellence, friendship and respect, we can transcend discord, disunity and animosity,” Lillie said in his message during the closing rite.
“I hope this event is only the first of many more occasions where sport is used to promote an inclusive and lasting peace in the country,”
The tournament was preceded a football clinic where some 100 school children aged 6-13 participated in the activity.
The participants came from different backgrounds–a mix of different faiths, cultures and ethnicity–to reflect diversity and inclusion, values at the heart of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The British Embassy states that the Olympic Truce builds on the ancient Olympic tradition of Ekecheiria that calls for a truce during Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes and relevant persons at the Games. PNA