TIFL Games in the Arab world: How the Baby Olympics is used as a pathway for sport promotion and Olympic education?

Mataruna-Dos-Santos, Leonardo Jose
Khan, Mohammed Sayeed
Al-Shibini, Mohamed Ahmed Haamed Mahmoud Sayed Ahmed Abdelwahab
Al-Katheeri, Sara
Ali, Amna Mohamad
Range, Daniel
Milla, Asli Cazorla
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University of Alicante. Faculty of Education
In the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, the Arabic term ‘tifl’ is used to refer to both baby and child. The aim of this research study was to understand the motives of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the MENA region to invest, organise and promote the ‘Tifl Games’, also known as ‘Baby Olympics’. The toddlers compete for the ultimate prize in various sport events which try to embody the core Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship. The situational analysis methodology based on qualitative data after the digital review of the events was utilised for the study. The NOCs of the MENA region were observed through the official websites, social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter), news and digital reports. The results show that the opportunity to develop consumer engagement and future talent identification are the main reasons for the organisation of the events. The existence of misconceptions in the MENA region regarding the practise of sports by toddlers was also highlighted in this study. The lack of elite athletes or high-performance sports programmes opened a new door to promote the message of Olympism for the youth generation. The conclusions alert that it is necessary to avoid the precocious training or competition in early age stages. Unconventional training regimes coupled with the inhumane treatment the young athletes are subjected to shed light on the great lengths some countries are willing to go to claim supremacy in the sporting arena. The ‘Tifl Games’ are an excellent opportunity for sport participation, sport promotion and Olympic education in a region with a deficit of sport for development though care should be taken by the NOCs to protect the human rights, adhere to the child protection policy and avoid exploitation of the young athletes. © Faculty of Education. University of Alicante
This work is licensed under Creative Commons License and full text is openly accessible in CUD Digital Repository. The version of the scholarly record of this work is published in Journal of Human Sport and Exercise (2021), accessible online through this link https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2021.16.Proc1.02
Baby Olympics , MENA region , Youth sports
Mataruna-Dos-Santos, L.J., Khan, M.S., Al-Shibini, M.A.H.M.S.A.A., Al-Katheeri, S., Ali, A.M., Range, D., & Milla, A.C. (2021). TIFL Games in the Arab world: How the Baby Olympics is used as a pathway for sport promotion and Olympic education? Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(1proc), S14-S22. https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2021.16.Proc1.02