Teams come together for Harmony Day Sport Carnival

Coming together: Team members Peter Knaus, Sean Feenan, Khanh Le, Tho Do Duy and Tainta Jaemsri, who were competing in the volleyball. Photo: Andrew Brown
Coming together: Team members Peter Knaus, Sean Feenan, Khanh Le, Tho Do Duy and Tainta Jaemsri, who were competing in the volleyball. Photo: Andrew Brown

Sixteen Canberra sporting teams converged on the Australian Institute of Sport on Saturday, all in the name of multiculturalism.

The teams were competing as part of the Harmony Day Sports Carnival, which was organised by the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS).

Now in its fifth year, the event saw teams face off in three different sports, which included basketball, indoor soccer and volleyball.

Chief executive of MARSS Dewani Bakkum said the sporting competition was a way to bring people of many different communities and backgrounds together.

“The main aim of the sports program is to make sure that the participants feel accepted as well as having a sense of belonging in the community,” she said.

The round robin competition across the three different sports saw teams made up of participants from Canberra’s different migrant communities, as well as other ACT who compete in the same sport.

Six teams competed in the basketball competition, while five compete in the volleyball and indoor soccer competition respectively.

Ms Bakkum said the sports carnival was one of the largest events MARSS organise, with planning being under way for several months.

“We’ve been organising for the last six months,” she said.

“The aim of the program is to provide the opportunity for migrant and refugee communities to have a platform to participate in sports.”

The chief executive of MARSS said many different cultures and communities were on show as part of the competition.

“Depending on which sport, we have a lot of Sudanese players in basketball, while volleyball is attracting a lot of people from African and Asian communities,” Ms Bakkum said.

The sporting carnival comes as the start of Harmony Week, with MARSS organising many events during the multicultural week. The organisation is also organising a multicultural lunch as part of the celebrations.

Ms Bakkum said the sporting carnival is a way for many different people to come together.

“I think sport plays a huge role in terms of socialising and bringing people together and be in a place where they can be with people of different cultures,” she said.