In 2017, pursuing the goal of promoting school sport worldwide, the ISF decided to periodically dedicate an article to one of its national members.
In this first publication, we will present the school sport association of Israel.
The Israeli School Sport Association
Guy Dagan, Chief Supervisor of Physical Education in charge of School Sport
Adi Hershkovitz, President of the Israeli School Sport Association
Moshe Kuninsky, CEO of the Israeli School Sport Association
Affiliated athletes: 350'000
Number of sports: 12
The Israeli School Sport Association was founded as the executive branch of the Physical Education Supervision of the Israeli Ministry of Education. The initial aim was to promote smaller sports by means of school sport clubs; thanks to its success, it rapidly grew and became an important "sport for all" tool.
The headquarters of the Israeli School Sport Association in Tel Aviv host the board, the management and national coordinators. In addition, each of the six districts of the Ministry of Education has a coordinator and a physical education supervisor who work together, managing regional issues.
The Association and the Physical Education Supervision cooperate with the sport departments of local authorities for the organisation of national competitions and nominate; every national championship is managed by its own Physical Education Supervisor. Regional and municipal competitions are also coordinated by the district supervisor.
Among the activities coordinated by the Israeli School Sport Association, we highlight the "A broad movement education" and the "Sport Flowers" initiatives, aiming for the addition of a weekly hour of physical education in schools and for an expansion of school sport infrastructures. In addition, the "Games of Yesteryear" project promotes informal competitions in traditional game, in order not to make them disappear completely from the Israeli culture.
The Week of Physical Education, Health, Leisure and Value
The Week of Physical Education, Health, Leisure and Value is the flagship project managed by the Israeli School Sport Association. It involves about 70% of the 2 million Israeli school students.
The main objectives of this project are the following:
- To raise awareness about the importance of physical activity and of a healthy lifestyle;
- To increase the importance of physical education in the public agenda;
- To highlight the role of the PE teacher as a values educator;
- To enhance the cooperation between local sport authorities and schools in the organisation of local events.
During this week, all the activities of the Israeli schools are related to physical education, health, sport and sport values. The whole school apparatus of Israel is involved in the organisation of the project: under the impulse of the national Physical Education Supervision, regional directors and supervisors, school directors, local authorities and physical education teachers cooperate in order to organise and deliver the most diverse activities and events related to sport and physical activity.
Guy Dagan, Chief Supervisor of Physical Education in charge of School Sport in Israel.
What is, in your opinion, the role of school sport in the educational and sport career of youngsters?
Physical education and sport are to be considered as a platform for educating youth: they play an important role in the promotion of tolerance, mutual acceptance, peace and all the Olympic values. International School Sport meetings contribute to the promotion of these values.
Thanks to school sport, young athletes can build up their personality through a series of skills and values that they can transfer in their private lives, such as determination, patience, perseverance, mutual respect, compliance with laws, teamwork and fair play.
Furthermore, school sport became a tool that young people can use to contribute to the society as volunteers, judges and junior counsellors.
What do you consider to be your most important achievement as main representative of school sport in your country?
Even though I entered my present position not long ago, for many years I had the opportunity to get to know the ISF and its activities as a member of the Technical Committee of Athletics, the head of the Israeli delegations at the ISF World Schools Championships, a member of the organising committee of 6 World Schools Championships hosted by Israel. In my opinion, our most important achievement is the hosting of the ISF World Schools Championships in Israel; welcoming ISF officials and guests from around the world is an opportunity to present the beauty of Israel which is not always known.
What are your main objectives as main representative of school sport in your country?
My main objectives are three:
- to increase the participation of school children in physical activity and School Sport;
- to educate students to sport values like fairness and respect for others, so that they can contribute to the society through physical activity and sport in schools;
- to raise the public awareness about the importance of physical activity and sport for the school system.
What is the added value that the participation to international school sport events brings to athletes of your federation?
International school sport events give athletes the possibility to get together with youth from around the world in a spirit of friendship, showing that sport can be a tool to build peace. In addition, these events allow them to gain experience in competitions at the highest level.
Guy Lewis, Israeli school sport athlete
School: Mosinzon High School, Hod Hasharon
What is the thing you like the most about school sport?
I have been training through school for nearly five years now. Apart from the obvious advantages - not having to wake at five thirty in the morning for pre school training as well as getting to do my favourite thing, swimming, between maths and physics - I also find distinct physical and mental advantages to training during the day. I feel that a training session in the middle of the day invigorates me and "recharges" my mental battery, improving my concentration and my ability to sit through heavy classroom lessons for the rest of the day.
What are your expectations related to international school sport events?
The World School Swimming Championships is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and my team mates. We are all so pleased and excited to have this chance to travel and represent our school and our Country in Budapest this year. Obviously I want to improve and swim as well as I can in the competition, but feel it is just as important to have the opportunity to meet and compete against people from all around the world; People from other countries who share my passion for swimming.
Can you tell us what you like the most about your sport?
Everything! From the start, swimming gives me the daily physical workout and challenge that I seek and thrive for. I enjoy the fact that with swimming I have personal and team challenges, wanting to succeed for both myself and for my teammates. I have very distinct personal goals which are my own and which are easy to measure. Competitive swimming has taught me how to enjoy successes and cope with failures, to push myself "just that little bit more" and to not give up even when the going gets tough. Intensive training has taught me how to organise myself and my day to make sure I can fit in everything, swimming, school and friends. And as a bonus, swimming has added to my social life, giving me an extended family to go through all these experiences, both in and out of the swimming pool.
Can you describe your favorite sport move?
I am and have always been a breaststroke swimmer. At the moment I am strongest in short-middle distances: 100m is my favourite. I like the power of breaststroke, a stroke that uses and challenges your whole body. This distance gives me enough time to get into the swim, whilst still needing to use the burst of power I love.