World Refugee Day: WBSC host Baseball5 Open Day at Azraq Refugee Camp to drive home message of integration

World Refugee Day: WBSC host Baseball5 Open Day at Azraq Refugee Camp to drive home message of integration
The WBSC Baseball5 Refugee Team welcomed a team from a local village to train and play at the Azraq Refugee Camp’s facility in a game that drove home the power of sport to unite people.

In recognition of World Refugee Day, a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball5 Open Day at the Azraq Refugee Camp last month saw the WBSC Baseball5 Refugee Team welcome a team from the nearby Balila village to drive home a powerful message of integration in Jordan.

After previous meetings at the Hope and Dreams Sports Festival in February and a WBSC Training Camp in March in Balila - a settlement of 8,000 people located between Irbid and Jerash - the team from Balila had the opportunity this time to visit the Azrag Refugee Camp for the first time and to use the Baseball5 facility there.

After sharing drills, the Refugee Team defeated Balila 8-1 in the game, which was watched closely by many of the children inside the camp and served as an example of the unifying role that sport can play.

WBSC Chief Operating Officer Marco Ienna said: “Since the start of the project, the WBSC has cooperated with the Balila village and we strongly believe Baseball5 can bring together the local community and the refugees. This was a special day for everyone involved and you only had to look at the smiles on the faces of the players and the many boys and girls watching to see that it was a success.

“We thank the camp authorities for making this happen and attending the day, the Maher's Foundation for providing trophies and medals and of course the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation for their continued help and support.

“The WBSC look forward to continuing working within Azraq Camp and to continue using sport to build communities.”

The WBSC Baseball5 Refugee Team continue to train regularly at the Azraq Camp under the guidance of head coach Amjed Alatoom, who is working with a group of 50 players.

Alatoom said: "Baseball5 has become a source of learning for the refugees and a tributary for shaping their future. The WBSC help broadcast a wonderful humanitarian message and most importantly the kids are having fun.

"This month, we focused on developing basic skills. The goal was identifying participants to form groups of children who play at a similar level.”

Alatoom plans to hold a training camp for the Refugee Team outside Azraq during the summer.