Ahead of the 2012 London Olympics next month, British Embassy Manila hosted a football tournament in Zamboanga City as part of the traditional Olympic Truce, an event celebrated before the quadrennial games.
Over 120 players participated in the tournament dubbed “Time Out for Football” last Tuesday at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex in Zamboanga City. Squads from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Zamboanga City Government, student athletes, and other foreign embassies in the country participated in the event.
“I hope that this event is only the first of many more occasions where sport is used to promote an inclusive and lasting peace in the country,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lilie said in a statement.
Lilie added that the choice of Zamboanga City was deliberate and fit the ideals of the Olympic Truce, a tradition that dates back to 9th century BC. In this period, which lasts days before and after the games, all conflict is stopped to allow athletes to safely travel to the Olympic Games and return to their respective countries.
“I firmly believe that today’s games show how sport can bring people together, and that it can teach people the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect,” Lilie said, hoping that the event would help bring peace in Mindanao, where conflict has occurred over the years.
Aside from the tournament, around 100 children also took part in the football clinic organized by the Zamboanga Football Association.
Over 200 countries will participate in 300 sporting events in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London from July 27 to Aug. 12.