Politics and Sports



Sometimes it just frustrates me when people make judgments with so little or no background information on the subject matter. Other times I simply understand, if I was that ignorant. Still, what is important is to always be ready to change your judgment once you get more information, which may be totally different than the initial information you have received. Anyhow, that kept aside, what do you think is the relationship between politics and sports?

Before answering the question and then refusing to change your mind, or judgment, allow me to define by what I mean politics and sports. Politics in this sense would be the domestic political decisions one makes to develop a certain or general aspect in the society, to take things forward. A political decision would choose whether or not to weigh in various factors such as social, economic, health, environmental, or any other when making a decision. Today, for example, political science have evolved so much to tell the decision maker which of those factors to account for, and how much they should be accounted for, when making a political decision. This, of course, is the area of my expertise.

Sports, on the other hand, are, as we know it, not much more. People indulge into sports to stay fit, healthy, and in many cases to enjoy competing in the activity they love. Playing sports through a game console is not considered sports, in my mind, because you don’t achieve the main objectives, yet. In Sports, people exercise their mind and body at the same time. They strategize on how to spend their energy, when, and how. A sport can either be individual, like tennis or running, or team, like football or basketball. In sports, people can build a career out of them, where they earn money and become professionals, or a hobby. What I do, for example, is a hobby, or a serious hobby, as I call it. Whenever I have free time, in some cases I make that time up, I look at the new products that can make me go faster and more competitive. Perhaps a person can get addictive to his hobby as well.

While it is no longer disputed, globalization as a process has shrunk the world. Distances no longer matter like before. Agreements signed and ratified by governments have paved away the road for societies and economies to exchange products and ideas, sports amongst them. Yes, for example, running doesn’t belong to any specific nation, nor swimming or cycling in my guess, but the three of them together were not instituted until recently and thus rode the wave of globalization around the world quickly.

One very important attribute of sport is that it was carefully instituted by good people, not lawyers, to compete positively and unite people from around the world. While language, color, and other human attributes have been largely controversial, sharing a hobby or a profession in sports with a stranger is becoming the best common denominator. Unlike IGOs, international sports organizations and local ones as well are much more functional and effective when individuals or teams attempt to cheat their way out through competitions. Having a good sportsmanship is becoming better than citizenship today, in most cases.

In relationship to politics, sports have been for a while a major factor to account for, amongst all the other equally important factors mentioned above. A good political decision is what needs to ride the globalization wave, because that has not yet seen the light in many parts of the world today. Unlike the developed world, the developing countries are still seeing sports as a program within social services. We are not capitalizing on the true potential that sports can bring to us, mainly sportsmanship, which is an attitude that we dearly need these days.

Thus a good political decision is one that understands the potential of developing the society, the economy, and the sole of citizenship through sports. And, if you are in sports, you should always understand and believe that your sport can be a solution to almost all of world’s problems, believe me.

Here in Bahrain, within the next few days, we are going to reveal exciting news about sports. We are riding the global sports wave and believe that providing the opportunity to become better and stronger will only bring positive returns. Then again, sportsmanship is a master key towards success, believe me.

Categories: Bahrain, Economics, Politics, Social


2 replies

  1. Bahrain is a country anticipating in many fields, therefore, I wish that the decisions will include decisions related to women’s sport as honestly there is a huge lack.
    I have studied all over my life in French schools where it is a must to practice handball, volley-ball, basket-ball, gymnastic, shot put, long jump and sprint/dash especially in secondary school. And I find my self doing aerobics which I hate 😦 and I gave up just after few weeks. Now, I am just cycling, running and swimming on my own. I wish there is more physical activities where women can enjoy and compete.

  2. Dr. Saqer, I had read this article, but several of your comments only became clear to me after I saw the announcement of “Challenge Bahrain”. I guess, as a person with an Engineering education, I am not very susceptible to the abstract thoughts you have laid out, and I needed to link them to the specific (political) decision to establish Challenge Bahrain which you had in mind when you wrote this article.
    I congratulate you and the political leadership for this decision and I agree that the event will contribute to the attitude of sportsmanship that we need in our part of the world. Triathletes, by the way, are those among athletes who have the highest degree of sportsmanship and camaraderie. A triathlete would stop his race to help a fellow triathlete with a flat tyre or in need of other kind of support. Triathletes all around the world connect very quickly with a person once they discover he or she is a fellow triathlete.
    You mention the factors that a political decision should consider, such as its social, economic, environmental or health impact, and I am sure you have considered these in the decision for Challenge Bahrain. I’d be interested to know your thoughts about key measures to track in order to ensure Challenge Bahrain is having the positive impact you’ve hoped for. Tracking such measures would enable you to set targets and drive progress towards these targets. In my eyes, key measures should include the number of Bahraini triathletes, men as well as women; the penetration through all age groups, not just youth; and the achievements at the elite level, e.g. performance of Bahraini triathletes at regional, continental, and international events. As a non-Bahraini, I would also love to see you interested in your impact on the sport of triathlon in the GCC and the Arab world in general. Please stay connected with other big regional events such as ADIT and the ITU Arab Championships, and with your fellow Presidents of national triathlon associations in other Arab countries to bring the sport of triathlon a big step forward. With that, I hope it will not just be a global wave we are (opportunistically) riding, but a real and sustainable shift in people’s health, sportsmanship, and their attitude towards sports.
    I appreciate all your efforts.

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