True Spirit of the olympics in the sudan
Controversy may be surrounding this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, but in Twic county in southern Sudan, the true spirit of the Olympics is alive and kicking.
The county – ravaged by civil war for 25 years – has hosted its very own version of the Olympic Games, helping to bring peace and reconciliation to a previously conflict-ridden community.
The Twic Games, held annually and organised by Christian Aid’s partner the Sudan Production Unit (SUPRAID), include football, volleyball, tug-of-war and distance running. Teams from six districts compete for the winning trophy and a chance to host the following year’s event, but the real motivation for the Twic Olympics is peace.
The games aim to bring together people from the previously divided districts of Twic and give participants and spectators a chance to get to know one another in a friendly competitive environment. Peace and reconciliation education is also provided in the hope that any future conflict can be fought with words instead of guns.
The games also provide an essential opportunity for young people, returning to the area after a peace agreement in 2005, to become part of a team and integrate back into their communities.
One participant said: "The Twic Olympics challenges everyone who thinks nothing good can happen in Sudan."