Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) will be at the core of the 7th TAFISA World Sport for All Games. Recognised by UNESCO as World Intangible Heritage, they are more than their title suggests. In the purest sense, they are the sports, games and movements that are traditional to our cultures. TSG form a significant part of our history and help make us, and our variety of cultures, what we, and they, are today. TSG tell the story of our past, and span genders, generations and individual differences like little else can. By their very nature, TSG are localised and regional, and should be recognised as the necessary counterparts to the globalised mass sports and culture of today, right alongside language, music, literature and architecture. TSG are a chance to enjoy diversity and community in an increasingly globalised world.
Yet, Traditional Sports and Games have in many ways and for many years, in contradiction to the advent of the modern sport movement, been progressively disappearing – critically putting at stake a large portion of our cultures. Traditional Sports and Games, because they are part of the World’s heritage and represent both the cultural diversity and common cultural background of our societies, constitute a privileged tool to foster cultural identification, as well as strengthen understanding between people. Moreover, Traditional Sports and Games provide opportunities that modern sports may not – e.g. link with traditional music, costumes, etc. They are often based not only on competition, but also on fun and participation, and provide a link to something bigger than sports and physical activity alone. TSG have the power to appeal to people who are inactive, and increase the levels of participation in HEPA and Sport for All, as well as build bridges between cultures, generations and foster social inclusion. At a time when the World is facing skyrocketing migration flows and must think of solutions to ensure the integration of all migrants and refugees in the populations, TSG can prove a useful and effective tool. TSG preserve chances to take part in, and benefit from the virtues of community interaction and culture. They are a living legacy of what has gone before us, and how we can enrich the future. The TAFISA World Sport for All Games aim to safeguard, preserve and promote them.