Exciting Future for Sport in Azerbaijan thanks to International Inspiration
Buckner, who won European gold and World bronze medals in the 5,000m during the 1980s, visited the capital city of Baku in order to facilitate a national sport development strategy – an element of the work taking place via International Inspiration – due to start next year.
International Inspiration, which was announced by the Prime Minister in India in January, has been designed to transform the lives of millions of children and young people in schools and communities from disadvantaged communities across the world through the power of sport – setting the foundations for a true international legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Programme is being led through UK Sport as the Government’s international sports agency, alongside international expert partners UNICEF UK and the British Council. The initiative is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID), the British Olympic Association/British Olympic Foundation and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).
As well as Azerbaijan, pilot programmes are also taking place in Brazil, India, Palau and Zambia, with project work already underway in each of these countries.
Strategic planning for Athletics was identified as a priority therefore by the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Azerbaijan. The focus of the development plan is on increasing access and opportunities for children and young people across the nation, so that they may realise their full potential.
“Participants here were enthusiastic, well-informed and really looking to the future,” said Buckner. “It feels like lots of things are ready to happen. You start from the bottom and you take it step by step.
“I think it is a tough and stretching journey and it will require commitment and resources. It also needs a period of sustained investment – there is enthusiasm and energy, and resources are coming,” he added.
“Jack’s visit to Azerbaijan was an important step in the work being done via the sport development project in the country,” said Debbie Lye, UK Sport’s International Inspiration Director. “The key is to ensure that International Inspiration initiatives are sustainable and have lasting benefit across the communities it embraces. By visiting Baku and sharing his expertise, Jack has helped lay what we all hope will be a lasting foundation.”