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Sport means all forms of physical activity which, through casual and organized participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels

The fundamental element of sports makes it a viable and a practical tool to support the achievement of nation development.

Sports programmes serve as effective tools for social mobilisation, supporting health activities and can be a significant economic force as it can provide employment and contribute to local development.

Sports can cut across barriers that divide societies making it a powerful tool to support conflict prevention and peace building efforts. When applied effectively, sport programmes promote social integration and foster tolerance, helping to reduce tension and generate dialogue. The convening power of sports makes it additionally compelling as a tool for advocacy and communications.

Influence of Sports On Society

One way in which sports have a positive effect on people is the fact that they draw people together. Whether it is members of a team, or fans rooting for a certain team, sports have always bonded people of different backgrounds together with a common goal.

Sport events were places where people could gather and socialize with other people from the same city while they watched events. Even though times have changed since then, sports still have the same unifying effect over people.

Through constant practice and playing actual games, players are kept in a state of complete physical fitness.

Sports can also help build one’s self-identity. The way players participate in a sport and interacts with team members helps to build the players self-identity.

Sports Contribution to Society

Sports are one of the most important facets of society.

It encourages good sportsmanship, teaching children and people to accept defeat bravely.

Studies have shown that involvement in sports promotes economic development through the creation of new business and careers, academic achievement, psychological and physiological growth, nationalism, and community development, among others.

The concept of ‘Sports for All’ is central to the understanding of sports.

When social and personal skills are combined sports can be an effective medium to intervene in a person’s ability to decide to abuse or not abuse drugs. While participants in sports do not inherently lead drug-free lifestyles, well-designed sport programmes run by skilled and credible coordinators help to reduce high-risk behaviours.

As mentioned above, Sport is high on the government agenda, not just for Sports sake but also because of the proven contribution, Sport can make to a healthier and better society.

There is no doubt that recent statistics on obesity compel Government to invest in a more active nation.

However, there is no point in investing in schemes, which encourage people to take more exercise, if facilities where they can exercise either do not exist, or are not of a standard to attract people to visit them.

As National Sports Policy also focuses on mass sports that focus on fitness activities that involve public participation to produce an active community, health and sports culture.

Therefore, with the government’s initiative to build more Futsal 1Malaysia (GF1M) courts throughout the country are expected to contribute towards to increase participation in sports.

The Malaysian Institute for Research in Youth Development (IPPBM) in the fourth quarter of 2010 undertook a study on The Effect of a Malaysian Futsal Courts Construction Toward the Sporting Interest Among Community in Malaysia.

The results showed that 95.3% of respondents (6,100 GF1M respondents in 122 locations throughout Malaysia) agreed that with the construction GF1M has encouraged them to play sports or engaged in exercise.

The study also showed that respondents are more likely to engage in sports activities such as futsal (71.7%), badminton (49.1%), sepak takraw (27.9%), sports (14.5%) and netball (12.6%) compared to other sports.

Based on survey results, many respondents prefer to select GF1M as a prime location to do sports and followed by school field compared to other places.

Through interviews and observations made, GF1M location near the residential area makes them more inclined to play sports there.

Sports facilities can make an important contribution to the physical infrastructure of communities, providing a social focus for a community and affecting people’s perception of their neighbourhood.

Sports facilities provided in sports complexes in populace area actually reflect the social relationships in the area.

It emphasises the importance of membership where people experience being in relationship with each other, their sense of shared values about the tasks of living together, and the ways in which they see themselves contributing, or not, to the area in which they live.

Consequently, to achieve community development, a greater degree of social cohesion and increased inclusion, identity and belonging are required.

This can be achieved through sports activities conducted in sports complexes where appropriate and convenient local facilities recognised the importance of participants’ friendship groups in getting involved and staying involved.

It also providing reassurance that ‘people just like us’ are able to participate; acknowledging, particularly to older people, that some physical activity will be better than none; recognizing that if the activity has some intrinsic value (good fun, enjoyable, a change of environment etc) it may be more appealing and ensure adherence.

Local authorities are by far the largest provider of community sports facilities in this country. A new initiative is needed to allow the private sector to work with Government to design, build, finance and operate sports facilities in partnership with local authorities.

This needs a real will to work across Government to achieve this, but the cost to the public purse could be significantly reduced if such a partnership was made to work.