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Is it the end of traditional/mainstream sport as we know it?
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Now is time for sport bodies, businesses, investors to think innovatively about how to sustain interest in traditional sports.

Since the declaration of Coronavirus as a pandemic, it comes to mind what becomes of traditional sports? Traditional or mainstream sports are popular amongst athletes, the sport-loving fans and the general populace. However, with the scourge of covid-19 ravaging every nation of the world, many people across the globe have turned to personal home workouts and online sports also called e-sports.

It then begs the question: what becomes of traditional sport players? What ripple effect does it creates on sport businesses, sports investments, royalties and sustained interests as many people are aligned to the current circumstances and may prefer to continue working out at home to stay healthy than participate in traditional sports as countries starts opening up again.

As a young person actively involved in educating, demonstrating and advocating for the power of sport in creating sustainable development and peace across the Commonwealth, it is high time for countries and nations to start putting in place the require infrastructure for participation in e-sport. From the e-sport research that the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace (CYSDP) network carried out in 2019 as part of a presentation to CABOS, one of the most impeding factors to the participation of young people in e-sport is the lack of infrastructure such as technological platforms, strong internet connection, poor energy facilities and as well inadequate finance to support esport players especially in the African region.

It is no coincidence that the highest body of sports in the commonwealth is partnering with the global e-sports federation. Now, is the time for sport bodies, businesses, investors to think innovatively on how to sustain interest in traditional sports.

An example is the sport of cycling; considering the implementation of social distancing, cycling can be encouraged especially for people who will find it hard to commute via public transportation. This will help people to be active and healthy and as well continue to be a form of competitive sport that encourages movement from one point to another.

Desperate times call for desperate measures; it is highly imperative for government bodies, youth organizations, civil societies and sport organizations to rally together to discuss the future of traditional sports while also encouraging and incorporating esports as a mainstream sport in order to give everyone a chance and a level playing ground, otherwise traditional sports will take a back seat and have a lasting negative effect on all aspect of the economy.

Adeola Adesoba is currently the Chair/Network Coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Sport for Peace and Development (CYSDP), a Youth Network and the Voice of Youth in SDP. She is also a Master of Science in Information Science graduate student, University of Arkansas at Little Rock (USA).

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