Iga Swiatek’s education, sports success story

Iga Swiatek, a Polish woman, won the 2020 French Open at the age of 19 as a student. She combined her tennis career with graduating from high school, where math was her favorite subject.

Born on May 31, 2001 in Warsaw to a family of athletes, Swiatek made history at the French Open by not only becoming the youngest winner of the tournament, but also the first Polish player to lift the coveted trophy .

She made history for herself and her country by beating Sofia Kenin, the Australian Open champion who won in Melbourne in January 2020 before the pandemic, 6-4, 6-1 in the final, defeating Chris Evert, Evon Goulagong and Aranta joined Sanchez Vicario, Steffi Graff and Monica Seles, who won Roland Garros before they turned 20.

The Polish education system respects sport and Pari Pasu training, so it was easy for Swiatek to achieve such a feat in her sporting career.

Her interest in tennis was not hampered by her academic performance in high school; Unlike the Nigerian Aina James, who had to forego her participation in the World University Game a few years ago due to her academic achievements.

The Polish government dissolved the pre-war three-tier school in 1947 when the Ministry of Education ordered the introduction of a unified curriculum.

The primary goal of schooling and sport in Poland has not changed compared to the interwar period. As part of the education, emphasis was naturally placed on motor skills, physical fitness, immunity, structure and posture of the body.

For educational purposes, the need to create characteristic traits, social and moral attitudes, and the habit of physical activity was emphasized, and for cognitive purposes, it was about the student learning about the body and its development, understanding the importance of physical education and sports.

There is no doubt that there are many Iga Swiatek in Nigeria. The challenge here, however, is the political will to put in place the structures, policies, plans and systems that drive the discovery, nurturing and advancement of the country’s avalanche of skills.

Also read: Saudi Arabia wants to set up a multi-billion dollar sports investment group

Obviously, Swiatek didn’t become world champion overnight. It needed guidance, encouragement and a system that would allow her to participate in sporting activities without missing out on her academic career.

Similarly, Nigeria needs to create a structure that will help its young sports staff reach the next stage in their careers. For youth who choose to play sports, there should be player development programs in our schools. Former athletic personnel could be hired to advance the program in various states and federation schools.

It is now crystal clear that sport and education can be properly matched, given that sport, like education, is an important driver of socio-economic growth.

It is high time that Nigerian education policymakers and implementers learn to create the necessary friendly environment that allows students to compete in sports without missing out on their studies.

It has been proven that sport and education are irreversibly linked, each promoting the other. One is also embedded in the other as sport is part of education. Education thus provides platforms for different aspects of sport to express their practices and activities.

In addition, the sport is attracting global attention now more than ever; It is a viable means of forex growth. Its influence on world peace, the economy and the development of social relations cannot be underestimated.

Against this background, most developed countries, including Japan, China, Poland, the USA and France, have recognized the need to invest heavily in school sports.

In order to achieve an effective education and sports system in the country, the government needs to provide public schools with sports equipment and well-trained sports coaches.

Thomas Omotayo, a public school teacher, lamented the fact that many state governments and many private school owners pay lip service to the need for physical education and extracurricular activities in elementary and secondary schools, which should serve as a breeding ground for talent discovery and nurturing.

“It’s a shame that our school system is lagging behind in terms of sport. Stakeholders and stakeholders in the education sector seem to have jettisoned the need for sport and sports facilities in our schools,” he said.

In addition, the insufficient sports funding by the various governments is another problem that hampers the sports development of Nigerian youth, especially the female gender, and represents the anti-sports attitude of many parents.

For example, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, a Nigerian gold-medal-winning track and field athlete who specializes in the 100-meter hurdles and also competes as a sprinter, had a discouraging parental attitude toward her career.

He attended Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Ijebu-Ode before going to the University of Texas at El Paso in the United States of America (USA).

The Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Ijebu Ode told the story of her father, who opposed her interest in sports while she was still at school

“My mother was very supportive of my athletics career, but my father wanted me to focus on school. He limited my time at the stadium, but I snuck out to the track because my mother had told my father I went to church!” she noted.

Likewise, Super Falcons forward Asisat Oshoala revealed that she faced many challenges with her family before she started playing professionally.

“Growing up, I never intended to play football. I wanted to be a lawyer. But I changed my mind because I saw that I can play football well.

“My parents didn’t want me to play football. I was punished every time I came home dirty, especially my father because he wanted me to focus on schoolwork.

“Sometimes they refused to give me food as punishment when I went to play football. And I would have to run to my grandma so they don’t hit me.

But everything changed when the opportunity arose to play for FC Robo,” Oshoala said in her FIFA documentary.

This is different from Iga Tomasz, Swiatek’s father, who made it his mission to get the best out of his child.

Swiatek’s victory at the 2020 Roland Garros (French Open) is already making its mark in the country’s sporting circuit. She is confident that her performance at the tournament will help boost organizers of the WTA senior tournament on Polish soil.

And that will mean significantly more foreign exchange earnings for their home country.

It is high time that Nigeria put in place the necessary structures to take sport and education to the pinnacle and make the country one of the best in the international community.


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