By William Madouk
Ministry of Youth and Sport, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Sunday, launched the Eighth National Unity Day (NUD) sports competition in Juba.
The 7-day event that aims to promote peace and social cohesion among communities across South Sudan include activities such as volleyball, basketball, and cultural dances, among others.
Speaking at the launch, the national minister of youth and sports, Dr. Joseph Geng Akech, said, “We come together not only to play but also to build peace and to discover our unique talent as a country, as young people.”
“As we kick off this tournament, we would like to celebrate the special role sports play in our community, and in that regard, we like to pay special tribute to our sport’s men and women for their roles,” he added.
He also outlined his ministry’s strategic plan, which focuses on youth development, peace, and unity, as well as the promotion of inclusive sports.
“Sports is going to be our priority as a government and as a ministry because it has the potential and ability to unite us,” Geng noted.
According to Dr. Geng, NUD signifies ‘that as a nation, we are ready to march forward united under sports and that we use sports to build peace and give opportunity to young people to discover their talent.’
The Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tanaka Hiroyuki, said sports are a good platform that brings people together and provides opportunities for social networking.
“The NUD has created a great opportunity for young South Sudanese athletes, as witnessed by the athletes who went to represent the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and three footballers who were in Japan for six months for training last year.”
Mr. Hiroyuki, for instance, cited that Mr. Abraham Guem, who participated in the Tokyo Olympics and in several other sports events, is now preparing to partake in the Paris Olympics this year, adding that the nation should be proud.
“We will be happy to see that you all put the skills you acquired to good use by ensuring that the NUD spirit does not end with this one,” he noted.