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Sports activities are no longer about winning and leisure, says Minister Zialor |04 May 2021

Sports activities are no longer about winning and leisure, says Minister Zialor

The three sports ambassadors with their shield: (l to r) D’Offay, Passon and Melanie (Photo: Jude Morel)

In the new normal due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, sports activities are no longer just about winning and leisure, but can also contribute towards the socio-economic development of a country, thus lending a hand in framing and shaping the community.

In other words, other than the health and competitive sides, sports can also play a meaningful role in helping to build strong and solid families.

The above-mentioned were strong points made by Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Marie-Celine Zialor yesterday during a special ceremony to recognise the efforts made by three individuals who used sports activities to make a significant difference and contribute in the wellbeing of the community.

The three, namely swimmer Felicity Passon, runner Joel Melanie and canoeist Paul D’Offay, were awarded with a shield as a token of appreciation from the government for their significant effort in raising funds for charitable causes, as well as creating awareness, especially in the local fight against substance abuse.

With her ‘Mind Over Matter Challenge’, Passon, with the backing of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Family, made and coordinated a charity swim challenge which will go towards a mental health project which she holds at heart.

Through the challenge, she collected funds from donors to finance an earmarked project.

The project consists of extending psychosocial support to the general public through the establishment of a ‘Telephone and E-Counselling service’ by certified professionals.

The support will assist affected individuals with a safe and confidential area to talk about their issues as well as providing them with coping skills that will have a positive impact on their lives.

During the event, she swam from La Digue to Praslin and back (approximately 15km).

Mr D’Offay, affectionately known as Fisher, on his part crossed the sea between Mahé and Praslin in a kayak as a gesture against the country’s drug crisis and to show how sports and other leisure actives can help to mitigate the problem.

At 69 years old, Mr D’Offay said he is ready to lend a hand, through his expertise, to encourage the youth to choose sports activities over drugs.

As for Mr Melanie, through his ‘Run for a Good Cause Project’ which started in 2018, he has raised significant funding for various financially-struggling associations towards infrastructure development or other facilities to provide long-term support for Seychellois families and children.

Yesterday’s ceremony which took place at the Family House Building at Bel Eau was attended by Minister for Education Justin Valentin, principal secretary for Sports Fabian Palmyre, chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) Jean Larue, secretary general of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) Alain Alcindor, parents, family members and friends of the athletes.

Minister Zialor noted that sports activities illustrate perfectly how her ministry functions with all the three departments working and linking well together.

She explained that based on the achievements of the three individuals, sports is not always about winning, but also about helping build stronger, healthier, happier, and safer communities and that her ministry believes strongly in and supports similar projects to strengthen communities and improve the family life.

Minister Zialor further pointed out that the age difference between the three ambassadors once again proves and highlights the perfect links between the three departments of the ministry which function as a perfect chain.

Through a presentation by director general of the Quality of Life Division Beryl Naiken, those present also had the chance to learn more about Passon’s project which is an E-counselling, also known as online therapy, teletherapy, or cyber-counselling, which involves providing mental health services and support over the internet.


Roland Duval

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