Schools across Zimbabwe in Africa are combining sport and art in celebration of Olympic Day on 23 June.
Pupils of all age groups are being encouraged to design a poster as the Zimbabwe Hockey Association (ZHA) pulls out all the stops to raise awareness among children of both the message and ideals of the Olympic movement as well as the inclusivity of hockey as a sport for all.
The competition has already opened and children up and down the country have been tapping into their creativity to come up with original and inspiring works of art.
The winning entries in the various age groups will win new hockey sticks, while the schools that field the most entries will win a coaching course, run by experienced coaches and provided by the ZHA.
The winning posters will be on display on 23 June, at various venues around the country, to coincide with Olympic Day and the winners will also be shown on various social media channels.
There will also be hockey tournaments taking place at five venues across Zimbabwe: Chiredzi, Bulawayo, Mutare, Kadoma and Harare.
At the Harare event, the Zambian national men's and women's teams will be playing international matches and also getting involved in some coaching.
Coinciding with the hockey tournaments, there are also a number of hockey-related coaching courses that will take place on 22-23 June across the five regions of Zimbabwe – again, these events are designed to raise awareness of the sport and demonstrate that anyone from any background or gender can play hockey.
These courses are a chance for aspiring coaches to work alongside experienced mentors, as well as introducing a whole new generation of people to the sport as players.
In addition, the ZHA is also raising awareness about AIDs and HIV, which is a huge health issue in the country. NGOs have been invited to the events to talk to the participants about healthy lifestyles. There will also be an opportunity for coaches, teachers and parents to get some up-to-date information on safeguarding children in a sporting environment.
The message from the Zimbabwe Hockey Association is that hockey provides a happy, healthy environment for participants and truly is a sport for all. “By promoting hockey awareness and giving away hockey sticks and coaching courses it is hoped that more school and players will start to get involved in hockey nationwide,” said a spokesperson from the Zimbabwe Hockey Association.
The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Day is a world-wide initiative that aims to promote the values of the Olympic movement, as well as get people active and help them discover new sports. The day is underpinned by three pillars central to the Olympic ideals: to move, learn and discover. And, through the work of our continental federations and national associations, hockey is a sport that has embraced Olympic Day wholeheartedly.