ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said that urban sport could be "easily translated" to provide opportunities to refugees ©The Korea Times/Shim Hyun-chul

Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti has urged members of his umbrella organisation to play their part in supporting refugees around the world here.

Ricci Bitti is attending the second edition of World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation's Hopes and Dreams Festival in Jordan.

The Italian official praised the organisations for the role they have played in offering opportunities for Syrian refugees at the Camp to practise taekwondo, and welcomed the presence of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and its baseball5 discipline at the Azraq Refuge Camp's Humanitarian Sports Center.

"Taekwondo is a combat sport and the initiator of this," he told insidethegames.

"Baseball tried to become a little more popular through this urban version that is baseball5.

"All the sports are now trying to look for something that is more manageable than the traditional one.

"I think this effort with baseball5 was very successful in Africa from the beginning in the places where they don't have facilities.

"I think it is a very good idea to jump in and to be seen.

"Many of the traditional sports including mine are still considered elite sports.

"We need to change this, and I think this is the reason baseball is here."

Baseball5 is the WBSC's mixed-gender format which requires only a ball to play, and is on the programme for the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games.

Baseball5 featured prominently as part of the first day of the Hopes and Dreams Sports Festival ©ITG
Baseball5 featured prominently as part of the first day of the Hopes and Dreams Sports Festival ©ITG

Ricci Bitti, who is also Honorary Life President of the International Tennis Federation, said that the THF's work helped to fulfil sport's "social and inclusion" functions, and suggested that the growing shift towards urban-based sports could enhance the opportunities for refugees.

"I would encourage all the sports to be part when they have a version of their sport that is acceptable to the situation and they don't need facilities," he said.

"Many sports are going in this urban direction, and this could be easily translated in a place like this.

"All the sports that can I think should understand how important this is.

"We always taught that sport has value - what more than you see here?"

The Hopes and Dreams Sports Festival is due to run until tomorrow, with WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari and his World Taekwondo counterpart Chungwon Choue, who is also founder and chair of the THF, both in attendance.

Read the full Big Read including comments from Ricci Bitti, Fraccari and Choue here.