Keynote speech by the president of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, on Olympism and Youth at the IOC Congress in Copenhagen.

Grim warning for idle youth - Horta
05 October 2009

The president of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, has warned the world is in crisis because of lack of physical activity by young people.

He described the crisis “is as bigger threat as poverty and global warming”.

President Ramos Horta said sport is the tool to solve our global ills and he called on the United Nations to lead the way.

“The power of sport can heal” he said.

The Nobel Peace prize winner was speaking at the Olympic Congress in Copenhagen where he warned “people need to get up and get active”.

“Sport needs to be a more integral part of our lives” he said.

“Sport should be compulsory in schools and governments need to provide more sporting facilities in urban areas”.

President Ramos Horta reminded the 1200 Congress delegates of the current human tragedy in Indonesia, Samoa, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.

He called on the world to work together to overcome climate changer.

“We all need to work together to heal the cancer damaging mother earth. We should not point fingers at each other, the poor can’t blame the rich” he said.

He applauded the International Olympic Committee for the introduction of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)… the first to be staged in Singapore next year.

He appealed to all delegates to take action to stop sport falling off the social agenda all together.

“Sport is all about building peace in the world,” he said.

President Ramos Horta talked of the thrill for him and his young East Timorese Team when they marched into the Olympic stadium at Homebush in 2000 and the entire crowd stood and cheered.

The IOC had fast-tracked their membership of the Olympic movement so they could participate in the Games.

He thanked the IOC, in particular Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper, for allowing East Timor to be part of the Sydney Games.

He said “it was an honour” to be in Copenhagen where “the power of sport is very evident”.

“It is young people who will guide, support and motivate the world in which we live in the future. We must put the interests of young people first ” he said.

Mike Tancred - AOC 


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