Olympians Driving Sport Participation in Palau

19 | 9 | 2018

Increasing youth participation in sport has been the focus of a new project run by Olympians from Palau, an archipelago of approximately 340 tiny islands in the west Pacific. With a population of less than 22,000, Palau made its Olympic debut at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Since then 18 Olympians have flown the country’s flag at a Summer Games.

After being selected for the 2017 / 2018 WOA Service to Society Grant, the Palau Olympians & Athletes Commission has been working hard to grow interest and engagement in Olympic sport by promoting low cost, high benefit combat disciplines such as judo, boxing and wrestling.

Working with schools, national associations, the Palau Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Education, the Olympians have been helping develop training programmes and boost skill sets amongst P.E. teachers in order to encourage children to try new sports and promote an active and healthy lifestyle amongst youth.

For John Tarkong, President of the Palau Olympians & Athletes Commission (POAC), who represented Palau in Greco-Roman Wrestling at Athens 2004 and acted as flagbearer in the Opening Ceremony of those Games, this is a subject close to his heart.

“The aim of the project is to bring together three Olympic sports that traditionally have not had a high level of recruitment but have a huge amount of potential for a country like ours with limited resources,” said John.

“We are bringing the sports to the schools to help with early recruitment and develop PE teachers’ skills and interest in the training programmes offered by our national associations. 

“Unfortunately there is very low activity among youth throughout Palau and by doing this we hope to encourage schools to work with our federations to maintain active after-school Olympic sports training programmes that are open to all students without discrimination.”

Activities kicked off during Palau’s Olympic Day celebrations earlier this year, when Palau’s Judo Boxing and Wrestling Federations held a two day introduction programme for the children and youth of Peleliu, one of the country’s most populous islands.

Service to Society

The Service to Society Grant programme was first launched by WOA in 2016 to help fund Olympian-led, sustainable community projects that align with the promotion of the Olympic values. Six recipients were awarded grants in the second round of funding earlier this year: Palau, Japan, Moldova, Cape Verde, Chile and the United States of America.

Every year National Olympians Associations are invited to apply for funding for projects, initiatives and activities that enhance the role of Olympians in society and support them in their life transition.

The application window for 2018 is now closed.