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INTERVIEW Anders Kragh Jespersen

PATHE leader from Associate Partner DGI

Name: Anders Kragh Jespersen
Position: Director of projects
Organization: DGI – Danish Gymnastic and Sport Associations
Country: Denmark

1. ISCA’s and ISCA’s members philosophy is that sport is not just about competition and exercise, but also involves having a good time and making friends. How do you see international activities such as festivals, exchanges and sports tournaments making special means of creating international understanding?

I see a lot of opportunities for all participants of such activities, if they come open minded, if they meet other participants with respect and if they are prepared to let other people draw from experience and knowledge that they have.
Besides they can enjoy the participants skills in sport, their capacity for social aspects and local culture aspects on the spot.
Building up international networks is not only for organizations – also on a more private basis, this is connecting people and rising hope for a better understanding between cultures and countries. This might be the most important long term effect.

2. What do your national Health initiatives include and what are the preliminary results?

We are working in the field of health promoting and health prevention, to develop and organize activities for adults indoor as well as outdoor. In this field we have success by rising fitness-centers on a basis of clubs. More than 60 new clubs have been established and even more are on the way. The rise in fitness memberships have increased from 23.000 to more than 50.000 since 2002.

At the outdoor scene we have organized a “start to run” project to get inactive people into regularly running exercise and we have established a tradition for climbing, tracking, canoeing, mountain-biking etc.

In cooperation with schools and kindergartens we have established a concept of being an active child in a well-organized frame with competent teachers, nursery teachers, instructors etc. There are few institutions, that have integrated these concepts. A Gymnastic Caravan has been successfully visiting a large number of schools and involving more than 125.000 children during a period of 3 years.

These are examples among many others.

3. Lack of physical activity among Europeans is significant and has become a huge societal challenge. What does your association plan to do in 2009 and further on to overcome this challenge, to promote physical activity and mobilize larger population cooperation?

In Denmark there has been a commission to research and to propose possible activities in the field of Sport for All. We have decided to go for realizing a vision, that every schoolchild should get 7 hours of more or less organized physical activity per week. In school time, in club time and in the time they spent at home.

We also try hard to modernize and built new facilities for the organized as well as for everybody who wants and needs to be active on their own conditions. DGI Houses and Halls with DGI-byen as driving motor has managed to set a new agenda in this field.

Least but not last we want to give inactive people a better chance to be active by creating new activities in new forms and with new content and at the same time to make it easier to get knowledge about and participate in healthy activities. For this purpose we have established the homepage – here you can search every facility and club in Denmark and see which activities they offer.

4. If we suppose that you would become a “Minister of Health and Sport” in your country, what would you suggest to SFA Associations in your country and to European Commission in the filed of Health and Physical activity?  

I will never be – but I could recommend to the minister, that every euro spent on elite sport should be matched with another euro or two to promote and develop activities, facilities and organization of Sport for All activities in every part of the country – with a priority for children in the bigger towns. This should make the country a world champion in Sport for All.

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