On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Olympic Organizing Committee organized a “Relay Race” in the courtyard of the Palais des Pins in Beirut under the slogan “Land of Games,” in collaboration with the Sports Academy. With 150 days to go before the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris next summer, the organizers decided to stage a race in swimwear.

Photo by Roudi Abou Nader

The ceremony took place in the presence of the French Ambassador, Hervé Magro, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Georges Kallas, and the President of the Lebanese Olympic Committee, Dr. Pierre Jalakh. Delivering a brief speech before the start of the race, Ambassador Magro emphasized that sport can change lives by promoting self-fulfilment, well-being and self-confidence, and thanked the Sports Academy for the global partnership they established to offer several sporting events to Lebanese schools. On the other hand, Magro declared that the year 2024 will certainly be marked by the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries in the sporting field.

The ambassador expressed his deep conviction in the importance of sport in our daily lives.

He underlined the commitment to facilitating the establishment of the young sportsmen and women of tomorrow. In addition, he stressed the need to detect, encourage and support Lebanese sportsmen and women towards the top level by providing them with quality coaching.

At the end of his speech, the ambassador expressed his gratitude to all the participants in the relay race.

The race reflected the importance of sports and Olympic values among Lebanese youth, and was attended by principals from French-speaking schools (8), teachers and students from schools and universities (3), as well as professional runners, some of whom had already taken part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

When asked by This is Beirut about sports in Lebanon and the need to be competitive at the international level, the French Ambassador confided, “Like all countries, the important thing is to have a strategy and work on talent with young people, where schools and universities play an important role in trying to launch programs to identify young talent. The launch of the Olympic Games in Paris is a good opportunity to show that we want to work on this axis for years to come, underlining that they are ready to help and accompany Lebanon in identifying these talents.”