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Fritx Duras Memorial Lecture - ACHPER Conference



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THIS SPEECH IS UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 3PM 18 JANUARY 1984

I WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THI S ACHPER CONFERENCE

FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS:

THI S F R I T Z DURAS MEMORIAL LECTURE PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR

THE HAWKE LABOR GOVERNMENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SEMINAL

CONTRI BUTION MADE BY F R I T Z DURAS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF

PHYSICAL EDUCATION I N THI S COUNTRY.

NO DOUBT MOST OF YOU HERE WI L L BE MORE F A M I L I A R THAN I AM

WITH THE WORK OF F R I T Z DURAS, BUT MY READING OF HI S

ACHIEVEMENTS SUGGESTS TO ME THAT HE WAS ONE OF THE MORE

IMPORTANT PIONEERS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION I N AUSTRALI A AND

THAT MANY OF THE CONTEMPORARY SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS IN A RANGE

OF HEALTH EDUCATION AREAS CAN BE TRACED TO HI S EARLY WORK.

OF COURSE AUSTRALI ANS WERE SPORTS ENTHUSI ASTS LONG BEFORE

F R I T Z DURAS BEGAN HI S WORK. BUT THERE I S A DIFFERENCE

BETWEEN SPORTS AND HEALTH EDUCATION - A DIFFERENCE WHICH I

WI L L DISCUSS LATER.

MODERN AUSTRALI A HAS HAD A STRONG TRADI TI ON OF SPORTING

ENTHUSIASM: I T I S AN ENTRENCHED PART OF OUR NATIONAL

CHARACTER. I T I S NOT SURPRI SI NG, GIVEN THE BENEFI TS OF THE

AUSTRALI AN CL I MATE , THE SPACE, AND THE ABSENCE OF THE MORE

SOPHI STI CATED EXPRESSIONS OF EUROPEAN C I V I L I S A T I O N THAT THE

EARLY SETTLERS I N THI S COUNTRY INVOLVED THEMSELVES I N A

VARI ETY OF SPORTS SUCH AS - BOXI NG, HORSE RACI NG, ATHLETI CS

AND BALL GAMES.

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T h a t t r a d i t i o n h a s b e e n m a i n t a i n e d a n d s t r e n g t h e n e d a s f a r a s

O U R C O N T E M P O R A R Y n a t i o n a l i m a g e I S C O N C E R N E D . I S U P P O S E I T

I S T R U E T O S A Y T H A T N O G O V E R N M E N T H A S B E E N A S S P O R T S - M I N D E D

A S T H E P R E S E N T F E D E R A L L A B O R G O V E R N M E N T . N O T O N L Y T H A T , NO

A u s t r a l i a n p r i m e m i n i s t e r c o u l d b e a t o u r p r e s e n t p r i m e

M I N I S T E R , B O B H A W K E , F O R T H E T I T L E O F T H E M O S T S P O R T S - M I N D E D

P R I M E M I N I S T E R A U S T R A L I A H A S E V E R H A D .

A L L T H I S I S T O B E W E L C O M E D A N D , I N D E E D , C L E A R L Y I S W E L C O M E D

B Y T H E A U S T R A L I A N P E O P L E . I W O U L D S U G G E S T T H A T I T WA S T H E

S U C C E S S O F A U S T R A L I A N S P O R T S M E N A N D WO M E N P A R T I C U L A R L Y F R O M

T H E B E G I N N I N G O F T H I S C E N T U R Y T H A T C O N T R I B U T E D T O T H I S

E S S E N T I A L A S P E C T O F O U R S E L F - I M A G E A S A U S T R A L I A N S . N O T O N L Y

D I D A C O U N T R Y O F V A S T D I S T A N C E S A N D S M A L L P O P U L A T I O N S P R O D U C E

O U T S T A N D I N G A T H L E T E S , B U T S P O R T H A S A L W A Y S P R O V I D E D A N

I M P O R T A N T M A N I F E S T A T I O N O F O N E O F T H E B E S T A S P E C T S O F O U R

S O C I E T Y : T H A T I S , T H E S T R O N G S T R A N D O F E G A L I T A R I A N I S M I N O U R

N A T I O N A L M A K E U P .

S P O R T H A S O F T E N , T H O U G H N O T A L W A Y S , B E E N A B L E T O C R O S S

B A R R I E R S O F C L A S S ; I T H A S A L S O B E E N I M P O R T A N T I N B R E A K I N G

D O WN S U S P I C I O N B E T W E E N D I F F E R E N T C U L T U R E S I N O U R S O C I E T Y .

T H E S U C C E S S O F A B O R I G I N A L S P O R T S M E N A N D WO M E N H A S B E E N

E N O R M O U S L Y I M P O R T A N T I N G A I N I N G R E S P E C T A N D U N D E R S T A N D I N G O F

A B O R I G I N A L A U S T R A L I A B Y W H I T E A U S T R A L I A ; T H E C O N T R I B U T I O N O F

S U C C E S S I V E W A V E S O F M I G R A N T S T O O U R S P O R T I N G L I F E H A S

A C C E L E R A T E D T H E I R A C C E P T A N C E I N T O O U R M U L T I - C U L T U R A L

s o c i e t y . E v e n i n t h e a r e a o f s e x e q u a l i t y s p o r t h a s b e e n a

P O S I T I V E F O R C E . M U C H M O R E P R O G R E S S C O U L D B E M A D E I N T H I S

A R E A ( A N D I W I L L T A L K A B O U T T H A T L A T E R ) , B U T U N D O U B T E D L Y T H E

A C C E P T A N C E O F G R E A T A U S T R A L I A N S P O R T S W O M E N : S W I M M E R S L I K E

A N N E T T E K E L L E R M A N I N T H E F I R S T D E C A D E O F T H I S C E N T U R Y A N D

D A WN F R A S E R , H A L F A C E N T U R Y L A T E R , W E R E L I V I N G P R O O F O F T H E

C A P A C I T Y O F WO M E N T O B E C H A M P I O N S .

- 3-

W E L L , S O F A R S O G O O D , B U T A S E V E R B O D Y H E R E K N O W S , T H I S

P I C T U R E , G L O W I N G A S I T S , I S N O T T H E E N T I R E P I C T U R E . A T T H E

S A M E T I M E A S WE P R O R O G A T E D T H I S S P O R T S - L O V I N G , H I G H - A C H I E V I N G

I M A G E O F A U S T R A L I A N S , WE I G N O R E D T H E R E A L I T Y W H I C H W A S , T H A T

F O R M O S T A U S T R A L I A N S S P O R T WA S A S T R I C T L Y S P E C T A T O R

A C T I V I T Y . T H I S U N H E A L T H D I C H O T O M Y B E T W E E N O U R F E W C H A M P I O N S

A N D T H E I R N U M E R O U S U N F I T F A N S B E G A N I N O U R S C H O O L S .

W H I L E O U R E D U C A T I O N S Y S T E M S H A V E A L W A Y S P R O M O T E D A N D R E W A R D E D

T H E O U T S T A N D I N G A T H L E T E S , T H E M A J O R I T Y O F C H I L D R E N H A V E O F T E N

B E E N L E F T W I T H O U T S U F F I C I E N T G U I D A N C E A N D O P P O R T U N I T Y F O R T H E

D E V E L O P M E N T O F S P O R T I N G A N D O T H E R P H Y S I C A L S K I L L S . T H I S I S

M O R E T R U E O F G I R L S T H A N B O Y S , B U T I T I S A G E N E R A L D E F E C T I N

O U R E D U C A T I O N S Y S T E M S A N D O N E W H I C H I , A S M I N I S T E R F O R

E D U C A T I O N A N D Y O U T H A F F A I R S , A M V E R Y A N X I O U S T O A D D R E S S .

T H E R E A R E A N U M B E R O F W A Y S I N W H I C H T H E D E V E L O P M E N T O F

P H Y S I C A L S K I L L S P R O G R A M S I N W H I C H A L L C H I L D R E N C A N

P A R T I C I P A T E , R E L A T E S D I R E C T L Y T O O U R G O V E R N M E N T ' S O B J E C T I V E S

I N E D U C A T I O N . L E T ME T A K E T WO E X A M P L E S :

F I R S T , I W I L L R E F E R T O O U R M A J O R I N T I T I A T I V E S I N S E C O N D A R Y

S C H O O L L E V E L E D U C A T I O N : T H I S I S T H E P A R T I C I P A T I O N A N D E Q U I T Y

P R O G R A M . T H E P E P P R O G R A M I S O U R F I R S T R E S P O N S E T O T H E T R A G I C

S I T U A T I O N O F Y O U T H U N E M P L O Y M E N T .

WH E N WE A S S U M E D O F F I C E N I N E M O N T H S A G O , WE W E R E F A C E D W I T H A

N A T I O N A L S C A N D A L . I R E F E R T O T H E F A C T T H A T 2 5 % O F T E E N A G E R S

W E R E ON T H E D O L E .

C L O S E L Y A S S O C I A T E D W I T H T H I S A P P A L L I N G S I T U A T I O N W E R E T H E

S E C O N D A R Y S C H O O L P A R T I C I P A T I O N R A T E S . O N A N A T I O N A L A V E R A G E ,

O N L Y 3 0 % O F O U R Y O U N G P E O P L E W E R E C O M P L E T I N G T H E I R S E C O N D A R Y

E D U C A T I O N . T H I S F I G U R E C O N T R A S T S D R A M A T I C A L L Y W I T H T H E 9 0 %

O F C H I L D R E N C O M P L E T I N G T H E I R S E O N D A R Y E D U C A T I O N I N C O U N T R I E S

S U C H A S J A P A N , C A N A D A A N D W E S T E R N E U R O P E A N C O U N T R I E S .

- 1 \ -

T HE RE ARE MANY REASONS FOR T H I S POOR SHOWI NG AND MANY

E X P L A N A T I O N S OF THE E N D E M I C D I S A D V A N T A G E S I T CA USES THE V A ST

M A J O R I T Y OF THE E A R L Y SCHOOL L E A V E R S . BUT WHAT I S R E L E V A N T

TO T H I S A U D I E N C E I S U N D E R S T A N D I N G OF SOME OF THE C A U S E S .

MOST E A R L Y SCHOOL L E A V E R S ARE D I S E N C H A N T E D W I T H S C H O O L ,

REGARD SCHOOL AS I R R E L E V A N T AND F E E L T HAT THEY HAVE F A I L E D .

T HERE ARE E CONOMI C CA US ES FOR E A R L Y SCHOOL L E A V I N G TO WH I CH

THE H I G H UNE MPL OYMENT RA T E S OF THE L A S T FEW Y E A RS HAVE

C O N T R I B U T E D . HOWEV ER, L E A V I N G T H I S TO ONE S I D E FOR A MOMENT ,

THE D E F E C T S I N SCHOOL C U R R I C U L U M FOR THE M A J O R I T Y OF SCHOOL

S T U D E N T S MUST BE A C K N OWL E DGE D. THE L A C K OF S E L F ES T E E M I S AN

A S S O C I A T E D P R O B L E M , AND A G A I N A MAJ OR CAUSE OF PREMAT URE

L E A V I N G .

OUR GOVERNMENT HAS D E S I G N E D AND F UNDE D A VERY A M B I T I O U S T HREE

YEAR PROGRAM TO OVERCOME T HESE P R O B L E M S . UNDER THE

P A R T I C I P A T I O N AND E Q U I T Y PROGRAM WE E X P E C T REFORMS I N

SECONDARY C U R R I C U L U M SO T HAT A L L S T U D E N T S CAN F I N D R E L E V A N T

AND E N C OU R A GI N G S U B J E C T S TAUGHT I N AN E X P E R T AND E F F E C T I V E

MA NN E R .

WE E X P E C T SCHOOL S W I L L CHANGE T H E I R O R G A N I S A T I O N SO THAT

YOUNG P E OP L E F E E L T HEY HAVE A P L A C E T HERE AND ARE NOT S I M P L Y

T O L E R A T E D AS AN U N A V O I D A B L E N U I S A N C E .

WE AL SO E X P E C T THE SCHOOL COMMU N I T Y AND THE B U S I N E S S

C OMMU N I T Y TO BECOME MORE C L O S E L Y I N V O L V E D W I T H WHAT HA P P E NS

I N SCHOOL S SO T HAT THE I R R E L E V A N C I E S OF MANY SCHOOL O F F E R I N G S

I S O V E R C O ME .

I N A L L OF T HESE E X P E C T A T I O N S , THE D E V E L OP ME N T OF P H Y S I C A L

S K I L L S E D U C A T I O N W I L L BE V I T A L . E V E R Y B OD Y KNOWS T HAT THE

C H I L D WHO CAN PERFORM WEL L I N SCHOOL S P ORT S I S MORE

C O N F I D E N T , HAS H I G H E R S E L F - E S T E E M AND B E T T E R R E L A T I O N S W I T H

- 5-

O T H E R S T U D E N T S A N D S T A F F M E M B E R S T H A N T H E P H Y S I C A L L Y I N E P T .

T h a t e x p e r i e n c e o f c o n f i d e n c e a n d p e e r r e s p e c t s h o u l d b e s o r t

F O R A L L C H I L D R E N .

I T W O U L D N O T B E R E A L I S T I C T O E X P E C T T H A T A L L C H I L D R E N C O U L D

B E C O M E C H A M P I O N S , B U T I T I S R E A L I S T I C T O E X P E C T T H A T T E A C H E R S

A N D H E A L T H E D U C A T O R S C A N D E S I G N C O U R S E S W H I C H D E V E L O P T H E

P H Y S I C A L C A P A C I T I E S O F E V E R Y C H I L D T O T H E P O I N T W H E R E T H E Y

A R E T O T A L L Y C O N F I D E N T P H Y S I C A L L Y A N D A B L E T O P A R T I C I P A T E

E F F E C T I V E L Y I N A R A N G E O F S P O R T I N G A N D O T H E R P H Y S I C A L

A C T I V I T I E S .

I W O U L D H O P E T H A T E D U C A T O R S I N T H I S F I E L D W O U L D L O O K B E Y O N D

T H E S P O R T S T R A D I T I O N A L L Y P L A Y E D I N O U R S C H O O L S T O A W I D E R

R A N G E O F P H Y S I C A L A C T I V I T I E S .

T H E A T T R A C T I O N O F C H I L D R E N T O C I R C U S P E R F O R M A N C E S K I L L S I S A

G O O D E X A M P L E O F W H A T I H A V E I N M I N D . M A N Y O F Y O U H E R E W I L L

K N O W O F T H E O U T S T A N D I N G S U C C E S S O F T H E C H I L D R E N ' S C I R C U S F R O M

A L B U R Y / W O D O N G A , T H E F L Y I N G F R U I T F L I E S . Y O U M A Y N O T A L L B E

A W A R E T H A T T H E S U C C E S S O F T H E F L Y I N G F R U I T F L I E S I S T H E

S U C C E S S O F A N O P T I M I S T I C A N D D E M O C R A T I C E D U C A T I O N A L

T E C H N I Q U E .

A F E W Y E A R S A G O S O M E C O M M U N I T Y A R T S W O R K E R S W I T H C I R C U S

S K I L L S M O V E D I N T O A L B U R Y / W O D O N G A A N D O F F E R E D T O T E A C H C I R C U S

S K I L L S T O C H I L D R E N I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y . T H E Y T A U G H T A L L WH O

C A M E A L O N G A N D D I D N O T L I M I T T H E I R A T T E N T I O N T O T H E

P R E V I O U S L Y E X P E R I E N C E D OR T H E O B V I O U S L Y T A L E N T E D . O U T O F

T H I S G R E W A C H I L D R E N ' S C I R C U S W H I C H H A S N OW A C H I E V E D

I N T E R N A T I O N A L F A M E A N D S U C C E S S . I H A V E N O D O U B T T H A T T H E

A C A D E M I C P E R F O R M A N C E O F T H E S E C H I L D R E N A N D T H E I R D E S I R E T O

S T A Y I N T H E S C H O O L S I T U A T I O N I M P R O V E D E N O R M O U S L Y A S A R E S U L T

O F G A I N I N G N E W P H Y S I C A L S K I L L S .

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O N E O F MY L E S S P U B L I C I S E D I N I T I A T I V E S A S M I N I S T E R F O R

E D U C A T I O N A N D Y O U T H A F F A I R S H A S B E E N T H E E S T A B L I S H M E N T O F A

W O R K I N G P A R T Y T O R E P O R T T O ME ON S T R A T E G I E S F O R D E V E L O P I N G

A R T S E D U C A T I O N T H R O U G H O U T A U S T R A L I A N S C H O O L S . A G A I N I

E X P E C T T H A T T H E W O R K I N G P A R T Y W I L L M A K E M A N Y O F I T S

R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S I N T H E A R E A O F P H Y S I C A L S K I L L S B A S E D ON

D A N C E , T H E A T R E A N D T H E C I R C U S . T H I S P R O J E C T I S A G A I N C L O S E L Y

A S S O C I A T E D W I T H T H E O B J E C T I V E S O F T H E P A R T I C I P A T I O N A N D

E Q U I T Y P R O G R A M . I F C H I L D R E N A R E T O H A V E T H E C O N F I D E N C E A N D

M O T I V A T I O N T O B E N E F I T F R O M S C H O O L I N G T H E N P A R T I C I P A T I O N I N

A R T S A C T I V I T I E S A S I N S P O R T S I S E S S E N T I A L .

O F C O U R S E I S H O U L D A C K N O W L E D G E A T T H I S P O I N T A C P H E R HAS

ALREADY CONTRIBUTED AN IMPORTANT INNOVATION TO PHYSICAL

EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS.

ACHPER'S DAILY PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM MUST BE ONE OF THE

MOST OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES OF HOW PHYSICAL FITNESS CAN

CONTRIBUTE POSITIVELY TO THE OVERALL WELL-BEING OF AN

I N D I VI D U AL .

THE PROGRAM HAS UNDOUBTEDLY BEEN ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL

EDUCATION PROGRAMS LAUNCHED IN AUSTRALIA. WITHIN SIX MONTHS

OF ITS LAUNCHING IN 1 9 8 2 , MORE THAN 2 , 0 0 0 PRIMARY SCHOOLS HAD

ADOPTED I T . SUCH A POSITIVE REACTION SPEAKS FOR ITSELF IN

TERMS OF THE PROGRAM'S BENEFITS FOR OUR YOUNG AUSTRALIANS.

IN THE FACE OF ALARMING STATISTICS ON THE HEALTH OF

AUSTRALIANS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, IT IS EXTREMELY ENCOURAGING

TO SEE EVIDENCE OF THIS SORT OF I N I T I A T I V E , NOT TO MENTION

THE DRAMATIC RESULTS THE PROGRAM HAS ACHIEVED.

REPORTS FROM I NDI VI DUAL SCHOOLS AND RESULTS OF SURVEYS OF

PARTICIPANTS HAVE INDICATED THE EMERGENCE OF FI TTER,

HEALTHIER STUDENTS. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTS S K I L L S ,

- 7-

I M P R O V E D S E L F I M A G E , I N C R E A S E D S O C I A L C O N F I D E N C E , P R O M O T I O N

O F N O R M A L G R O WT H A N D D E V E L O P M E N T A R E O N L Y S O M E O F T H E W A Y S I N

W H I C H I N V O L V E M E N T I N D A I L Y P H Y S I C A L E D U C A T I O N H A S R E S U L T E D I N

A N O V E R A L L I M P R O V E M E N T I N S C H O L A S T I C A C H I E V E M E N T A N D

C O N T R I B U T E D T O T H E D E V E L O P M E N T O F T O T A L P E R S O N A L I T I E S .

T H I S I S V E R Y G O O D N E W F O R MY G O V E R N M E N T , A N D WE W I L L B E

S E E K I N G T O WO R K W I T H A C H P E R TO EXTEND THIS SUCCESS.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATION FOR OUR

GOVERNMENT IN THIS AREA IS THAT OF INEQUALITY. GIVEN THE

EXTENSIVE PUBLIC INTEREST IN OUR NEW EDUCATION POLICIES

INTRODUCED LAST YEAR, I DOUBT THAT ANYONE IS UNAWARE OF OUR

COMMITMENT TO REDUCE I NEQUALITIES IN EDUCATION. THE AREA OF

PHYSICAL EDUCATION IS ONE WHERE AS MANY SERIOUS INEQUALITIES

EXIST AS ANYWHERE ELSE. IF WE CONSIDER THE CAPACITY OF

SCHOOLS TO PROVIDE A WIDE RANGE OF SPORTING A C T I V I T I E S , A

WIDE RANGE OF ARTS A C T I V I T I E S , AND THE F A C I L I T I E S AND

OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN TO BENEFIT FROM THESE, THEN IT IS

TRUE TO SAY THAT SCHOOLS WHICH HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED AS

DISADVANTAGED BE THEY IN THE PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR, ARE

DISADVANTAGED IN THESE AREAS TOO. LACK OF ADEQUATE PHYSICAL

EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS I S , IN MY VIEW, JUST AS

SERIOUS AS LACK OF AN ADEQUATE LIBRARY OR THE LACK OF PROPER

SCIENCE OR COMPUTER F A C I L I T I E S . IN SOME WAYS, GIVEN THE

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SELF ESTEEM, IT

IS MORE SERIOUS. SO WHEN I POINT OUT THAT OUR GOVERNMENT'S

EXPECTATIONS FOR IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

ESPECIALLY FOR DISADVANTAGED AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN INCLUDES

IMPROVING PHYSICAL EDUCATION F A C I L I T I E S , I AM SURE I AM

EXPRESSING SENTIMENTS WITH WHICH DELEGATES AT THIS CONFERENCE

WILL CONCUR.

- 8-

I W O U L D L I K E T O P A S S N OW T O A M A T T E R O F P A R T I C U L A R C O N C E R N T O

ME A N D T H E G O V E R N M E N T I N T E R M S O F S C H O O L P R O G R A M S A N D E Q U A L

O P P O R T U N I T Y . I R E F E R T O T H E D I S A D V A N T A G E S S U F F E R E D B Y G I R L S

I N O U R S C H O O L S Y S T E M S . I N A R E A S S U C H A S M A T H E M A T I C S ,

C O M P U T E R S T U D I E S A N D S C I E N C E S , T H E M O R E R E S T R I C T E D

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T H E S C H O O L S C O M M I S S I O N H A S A M O D E S T B U D G E T F O R P R O J E C T S T O

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A N D M O R E E Q U A L P A R T I C I P A T I O N B Y B O Y S A N D G I R L S I N L A T E R Y E A R S .

- 10-

F I N A L L Y I W I S H T O A N N O U N C E T O D A Y A N E W I N I T I A T I V E B Y T H E

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T H E C O V E R A G E O F W O M E N ' S S P O R T S ' .

- 11-

B E C A U S E OF T H E G O V E R N M E N T ' S C O N C E R N F OR T H E G E N E R A L L A C K OF

A W A R E N E S S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y OF T H E A C C O M P L I S H M E N T S OF WOMEN I N

S P O R T , P A R T I C U L A R L Y I N T E A M E V E N T S S U C H AS N E T B A L L , C R I C K E T ,

S O F T B A L L , H O C K E Y , A N D SO O N , I AM H A P P Y TO A N N O U N C E T H A T WE

A RE NOW C O N S I D E R I N G WA Y S I N W H I C H T H I S S I T U A T I O N CA N BE

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F E A S I B I L I T Y OF S E T T I N G UP A S M A L L W O R K I N G GROUP C O M P R I S I N G

R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S F R OM A B O U T S I X M A J O R W O M E N ' S S P O R T I N G B O D I E S

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GROUP MAY BE TO D E T E R M I N E I F W O M E N ' S S P O R T I N G B O D I E S A R E

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A D M I N I S T R A T I O N OF T H E I R S P O R T , E T C . T H E G O V E R N M E N T WOU L D S E E

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- 12-

B A S I C H E A L T H A N D W E L L B E I N G OF OUR C O M M U N I T Y A T MA N Y V I T A L

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