DUSHANBE, June 22, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Mass sports and cultural activities dedicated to an Olympic Day will be organized across the whole Tajikistan  tomorrow, Vice-President of Tajikistan’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), Shirinjon Mamadsafoyev, said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, the Olympic Day is marked in Tajikistan on such a large scale for the first time.  “In the previous years, the Olympic Day was marked in May and it was called the Olympic Day Run,” Mamadsafoyev said, noting that competitions on various types of sports will be held in Dushanbe.

He added that 20 participants in a race dedicated to the 12th anniversary of the National Unity Day that started in GBAO’s Murgab district on June 12 are expected to reach Dushanbe tomorrow.  “In Dushanbe, they will lay wreaths at the monument to Ismoili Somoni,” the NOC official said, noting that the race will be finished on June 27 in Khujand, where the main, where the main events to mark the National Unity Day will be held.

According to Olympic Movement’s website, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the idea of an Olympic Day at its 42nd session in January 1948,.  This celebration is used to commemorate the creation of the IOC on June 23, 1894 in Paris.

Olympic Day was held for the first time on June 23, 1948, with a total of nine NOCs hosting ceremonies in their respective countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

In an effort to encourage all NOCs to commemorate and celebrate Olympic Day, in 1987 the IOC Sport for All Commission launched the Olympic Day Run concept with the objective of promoting the practice of participation in sport by men, women and children from all corners of the world, regardless of athletic ability. From 45 NOCs taking part in the first edition, today over 150 NOCs worldwide participate.

In 2009, the IOC decided to consolidate and perpetuate this success by making Olympic Day Run into a worldwide event henceforth known as “Olympic Day”.

The IOC is therefore returning to its roots thanks to Olympic Day, and hopes to encourage the various sporting, cultural and educational initiatives launched by the NOCs which go beyond the Run itself. Indeed, over the years, the NOCs developed this event by inviting participants of all ages and walks of life to practice physical activity, try out new sports with athletes and volunteers, and discover, understand and put into practice the Olympic values.

Many NOCs also take into account their specific local features and social environment to celebrate this event country-wide. Some have incorporated the event into the school curriculum while others also organize cultural exhibitions and various activities centered on the Olympic values.

Olympic Day, launched on June 23 by the IOC and organized locally by the NOCs, has now become the only annual worldwide event of the Olympic Movement. It thus contributes to disseminating the values and fundamental principles of Olympism across the world.