Vanuatu is using an Olympic Fun Run next Saturday (June 21) as a means to boost interest in Olympic sport with the aim of improving performances at future international events.
Since securing independence from Great Britain and France in 1980, Vanuatu, a chain of more than 80 islands 1,000 miles to the east of Australia formerly known as the New Hebrides, has sent athletes to the last seven Summer Olympics stretching back to Seoul 1988.
Although they have never won a medal, improvement has been seen in recent times and at London 2012 a five-strong team, their largest since Barcelona 1992, participated in the three sports of athletics, judo and table tennis.
It is hoped Vanuatu will compete in more sports at Rio 2016, including beach volleyball, after the women's pair of Elwin Miller and Henriette Iatika finished a superb ninth at the 2013 International Volleyball Federation World Championships in Poland, although insidethegames revealed last November that more financial support is required if they are to achieve their Olympic dream.
Given this, events such as the Olympic Fun Run are a key way to raise the profile of sport, with the event being billed as a way to "celebrate Olympism and sport" and encapsulated by the slogan "Move, Learn and Discover".
Organised by the Vanuatu Association of Sports And National Olympic Committee, the event will begin at Wan Smol Bag Field in the capital city Port Vila at 7am local time.
Following the run, participants are invited to "come play and discover Vanuatu's sport", with most of the country's National Federations expected to take part in order to showcase and display each of their sports to the public.
The Vanuatu boys football team, which qualified for the Youth Olympic Games taking place in Nanjing from August 16 to 28 this summer, will also feature with a special presentation at 10am.
The day forms part of celebrations set to take place all over the world next week marking Olympic Day, which was formerly established on June 23 by Modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Since 1987 it has become standard for the day to be marked by a special fun run in order to bring attention to the Olympian themes of sport and participation.
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