The pandemic did not stop educational activities carried out within the Play Fair project. Over 3,500 young athletes, coaches, teachers and sports activists from all over Poland took part in either direct or online meetings. In 2021, the main goal of POLADA’s educational activities will be to provide training to athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The pandemic and related contact restrictions have significantly hampered the organization of annual meetings with young athletes, held during the Juniors Championships of Poland and the National Youth Games finals. In 2020, many of the events were cancelled.
Last year there were no possibilities either to visit many Sports Championship Schools or to meet directly with national team members at training camps. These problems resulted in a significant decrease in the number of training participants, as compared to 2018 and 2019.
The difficulties we encountered did not, however, stop the POLADA team or the Play Fair project. The new challenges were overcome by all organisers of the educational meetings. In 2020 we organized 91 training meetings, of which as many as 34 were held remotely. We hope that all the meetings have strengthened the athletes’ conviction about the importance of the fair play principle, said POLADA Director Michał Rynkowski.
The direct meetings and online meetings were attended by 3618 athletes, coaches, teachers and sports activists from all over Poland. Within the Play Fair project, the following were held:
• 36 meetings with youth, mainly students of Sports Championship Schools. The meetings were of multidisciplinary nature;
• 39 meetings with Polish national sports associations. Knowledge was passed to representatives of 21 sports of which the most active were:
o weightlifting (6 meetings);
o rugby and triathlon (3 meetings per sport);
o fencing, track and field sports, handball, field hockey, speed skating, short track, powerlifting, rowing and canoeing (2 meetings each);
• 3 training meetings for lawyers, doctors and sports activists;
• 13 educational meetings for athletes with disabilities.
Notably, 2020 saw the largest number of meetings ever held with athletes with disabilities. This resulted from a significant increase in these athletes’ interest in learning about anti-doping matters.
In 2021, one of the key activities will be to conduct training and provide the necessary knowledge to Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are to compete in Tokyo. We do hope that we will soon return to our face-to-face meetings with athletes and young people from Sports Championship Schools. It is beyond doubt that traditional in-person instruction is much more effective than via online screens and communicators, emphasized Grzegorz Borkowski, head of POLADA Information and Education Department.
In 2021, the first online educational meeting was held in January. The participants were the youth national handball team members (born in 2002-2004).