Special Podcast Series | Children, Sport and COVID-19

Children, sport and COVID-19 podcast special series

In April 2020 the Centre for Sport and Human Rights led a call for experts and practitioners in child rights, protection, and safeguarding in sport to come together to consider the Sports-Related Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children. A paper of the same name was subsequently published in June 2020.

This 6-part Centre for Sport and Human Rights Podcast Series is a continuation of this initiative, seeking to bring together experts and practitioners from around to the world to discuss in depth the evolution of the sports-related impacts of COVID-19 on children as the world continues to grapple with this pandemic and the particular crisis it presents to young people around the world.

Special Series: Children, Sport & COVID-19 Introduction

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep1: Impacts Associated with the Absence of Sport

This episode looks at how the absence of sport is impacting both the physical and mental well - being of children all around the world from feelings of isolation, loss of team dynamic or just the lack of physical activity, children are grappling to figure out this new normal.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Dr. David McDuff - Maryland University
  • Dr. Annie Sparrow - World Health Organisation
  • Dr. Yetsa Tuakli-Wosornu - Yale School of Public Health

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep2: Impacts Associated with the Absence of Sport (part 2)

This episode continues the conversation started in episode one concerning the impacts associated with the absence of sport and that impact on children. Today we look specifically at the impacts felt by children in humanitarian situations, as well as the difficulties faced by sport for development programs.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Dr. Morten Schmidt - Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
  • Mark Mungal - Caribbean Sport and Development Agency
  • Liz Twyford - UNICEF
  • Mariona Miret - Barça Foundation

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep3: Elite Youth Athletes & Listening to the Voices of Young People

In this third episode of the special podcast series on Children, Sport and Covid-19, we will discuss the critical importance of the voice of the child, the need for role models and other persons of support for young athletes, and the necessity for safe and smart training plans as young people gradually return to sport.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Philippe Furrer - insPoweredBy
  • Kirtie Algoe - Athletes’ Commission of the National Olympic Committee of Suriname

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep4: The Growth of eSports

eSport has seen exponential growth over the past few years and the pandemic has only increased its rise in popularity. In this episode, we discuss gaming's enormous reach and explore both the challenges, such as online safety and increased screen time, as well as its power for social change, education and the opportunity for connection during a time of isolation.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Boban Totovsk - iInternational eSports Federation
  • Oliver Weingarten - LDN UTD
  • Josianne Galea Baron - UNICEF
  • Alfonso Leon - International eSport Lawyer

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep5: Children with Disabilities

On this episode our guests discuss the important role that sport plays in the lives of children with disabilities and observations on the specific impacts that the restriction in access to sport is having.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Dr Cheri Blauwet - Harvard Medical School
  • Charles Nyambe - Special Olympics Africa

Children, Sport & COVID-19 ep6: Building Back to a Better Future

In this, our sixth and final episode, we look toward the future and are reminded of the value and beauty that sport and play provide not only to millions of children around the world, but also to the ideals of cooperation, community, competition and peace.


  • Mary Harvey - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  • Kirsty Burrows - Sports Rights Solutions
  • Dr Najat Malla M’jid - United Nations
  • Elda Moreno - Council of Europe
  • Dr Chungwon Choue - World Taekwondo


Kirsty Burrows

Kirsty is the Founder and Managing Director of Sports Rights Solutions, an expert consultancy focused on providing a 360 degree approach to International Sports Organisations and NGOs related to strategy and initiatives that foster physically and psychologically safe sporting environments for athletes.

She is the author of the IOC Athlete Safeguarding Toolkit launched in 2017, a member of the Council of Europe’s Pro Safe Sport+ Pool of Experts, and lead consultant to the IOC on athlete safeguarding,

Prior to working in international policy development, Kirsty practiced as a sports physiotherapist for the Football Association of Singapore; at the Isokinetic FIFA Medical Center of Excellence in Italy; and Aspetar, the world’s leading specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital located in Doha, Qatar. She is also a graduate of the FIFA Master Programme

Kirsty was co-author of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights-led paper titled “An Overview of the Sport-Related Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children”.

Dr. Daniel Rhind

Dr Daniel Rhind is a Chartered Psychologist and a Reader in Psychology at Loughborough University. His research focuses on how children’s rights can be protected in, around and through sport. Daniel’s research has been funded by the European Commission, Commonwealth Secretariat, Oak Foundation, the Daiwa Foundation, International Inspiration, the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, the International Tennis Federation and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His most recent research was the foundation of the recently launched International Safeguards for Children in Sport which have been endorsed by over 120 sport organisations who work with over 35 million children around the world.

Dr. David McDuff

David R. McDuff, M.D. is the long-time sports psychiatrist and mental preparation trainer for the MLB Baltimore Orioles (1996-present) and NFL Baltimore Ravens (1996-2013) and more recently the Performance Medicine Physician for the NFL Indianapolis Colts (2015-2018).  He is also the author of the 2012 book “Sports Psychiatry: Strategies for Life Balance & Peak Performance”.  He was recently appointed (2018) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Panel and Work Group on Mental Health in Elite Athletes.  He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore USA where he serves as the Director of its Sports Psychiatry Program.

Dr. Annie Sparrow

Annie Sparrow is an Australian-born paediatric intensivist and global health specialist accredited in Australia, the UK and the U.S. She combines her clinical skills with public health expertise acquired from working in some of the world’s most marginalized places, refugee and detention camps, and war-torn countries.

An experienced practitioner familiar with providing direct clinical care and managing large-scale epidemics, she has worked on the ground in many outbreaks, training other physicians on the job, including cholera in Zimbabwe, dysentery in Timor Leste, polio in Syria, Ebola in eastern Congo, and most recently Covid19.  In addition to peer-reviewed publications in prestigious medical journals such as the Lancet and NEJM, she writes regularly for Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs and the New York Review of Books, as well as the occasional op-ed for the NYT and Financial Times. 

Dr. Yetsa Tuakli-Wosornu

Dr. Yetsa Tuakli-Wosornu, MD, MPH is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale University, and a board-certified Physiatrist. She specializes in spine and sports medicine. Dr. Tuakli directs the Sports Equity Lab—a research group focused on dismantling inequities in sport (abuse) while amplifying sport’s role as a positive change agent in society. A long jumper who represented the Ghana National Team until 2016, Dr. Tuakli was also the International Paralympic Committee’s inaugural welfare officer, and is a member of the International Olympic Committee’s working group to prevent harassment and abuse in sport.

Liz Twyford

Liz Twyford has worked for Unicef UK for over 11 years, in a role focused on protecting and promoting children’s rights in, around, and through sport.

She has been involved in supporting the delivery and evaluation of International Inspirational, the international social legacy programme of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the development of Unicef UK’s partnership with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the founding and coordination of the International Safeguarding Children in Sport initiative.

She has worked in more than 15 countries over the past 10 years, with a focus on supporting community mobilisation, sport for development and protecting and promoting children’s rights in, around and through sport.

Mark Mungal

Mark is a Director and co-founder of the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency  (formerly known as the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance for Sport and Physical Education)  and is an enthusiastic and passionate Sport for Development leader dedicated to the  promotion of sport and physical education as building blocks for the development of  Caribbean people.

Mark played a  lead role in the development of academic programs in sport, physical education and sport  for development at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West  Indies and the Regional Sports Academy (Suriname). 

Mark’s core work is in the national, regional and global sport and development sector and includes capacity building, policy development and sport sector strategic planning with a  strong focus on the use of sport as a tool for personal, community, national and global development.

Dr. Morten Schmidt

Morten Schmidt is Director of Programmes and Grants at the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, responsible for leading and overseeing the implementation of more than 200 programmes in more than 40 countries across the world. Morten Schmidt, who holds a PhD in Economics and Business Administration from one of the world’s leading Business Schools, has more than 20 years’ experience in leading, developing, implementing, evaluating and researching development programmes, humanitarian responses and global development strategies and policies across Latin America, Africa and Asia, and he has worked with a number of the world’s most respected humanitarian organisations. He lived for 10 years in Bolivia and Colombia with his wife, a renowned Peruvian environmental certification expert and anthropologist, and daughter. Morten runs and plays golf and tennis.

Mariona Miret

Mariona Miret has more than 15 years of experience in international organizations, leading from technical and innovation projects to strategic planning. She is currently in charge of the programs and the new initiatives of Barça Foundation. She has a master’s degree on Engineering, Organization and Management, by ETSEIB-UPC (Spain) and has also a Water Resources Management degree by Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

Philippe Furrer

Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of the advisory firm insPoweredBy, Philippe Furrer has a passion for sport as a school of life and as a catalyst for change in young people’s lives and across communities. He spent the largest part of his career with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in various senior roles (media operations, transfer of knowledge, brand and identity, education, sustainability and legacy). Holding several academic degrees in geoscience, literature, sports science, business leadership and sustainable finance, Philippe believes in cross-disciplinary approaches as the only way to solve today’s complex social and environmental challenges.  During his latest mission with the IOC Philippe oversaw the education, engagement and empowerment of young athletes and local youth at three Youth Olympics and spearheaded the IOC Young Leaders programme, to enable young social entrepreneurs to deliver life-changing projects in their communities.

Philippe is also the founder of two non-for-profit organisations active in youth sport and fighting sedentarism. More recently, he co-founded the Republic of Sport, which promotes social inclusion of young migrants through sport. He recently published a White Paper to explore how sports for development can leverage on innovative financing models to scale up its operations to transform communities in vulnerable regions.

Kirtie Algoe

Kirtie Algoe (1984) holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology (2007), a master’s degree in Development and Policy (2011), and a PhD degree in Social Sciences (2017). She is a researcher at the Institute of Graduate Studies and Research of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Her publications are on religious diversity, government policies, and comparative studies. Now she works on qualitative methodology, philosophy of science, gender and sports. She combines her work with sports; she practices martial art for over 18 years (Taekwondo 3rd dan, Pencak Silat). She has been a Taekwondo national champion in poomse. Algoe is an active board member of the Suriname Olympic Committee: chair gender & sport commission, chair athlete commission, board member Suriname Olympic Academy. She launched various campaigns on gender and safeguarding in sports. Her major milestone is the development of a code of ethics in sports after almost two years’ intensive workshops with stakeholders. 

Boban Totovski

Boban Totovski, president of the Macedonian Esports Federation, has been dealing with esports and gaming on an international level for 15 years. Manager and IT consultant with a proven record of obtaining excellent results in many organizations. Persistent and motivated to achieve any goal and task ahead.

Organized more than 10 national qualifiers and participated on more than 10 World Championships. Experience in international relations, negotiations, and global representation. Since 2019, Board Member of the International Esports Federation, responsible for memberships, Finances, and managing the headquarters office. Since February 2020, member of the Advisory board of the European Esports Federation.

Josianne Galea Baron

Josianne Galea Baron is the digital industries specialist at UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business team in Geneva, focusing on engaging with businesses around their impact on child rights issues and how companies in the sector can take action to respect and support children’s rights throughout their activities. In this role, she develops tools and guidance for businesses in different industries, from online gaming to mobile network operators. She has a master’s in development management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Oliver Weingarten

Oliver Weingarten entered the world of esports from traditional sports (Premier League and F1) and in 2019, Oliver founded LDN UTD as an esports org to unite with social responsibility, using its platform to address societal issues, and provide grassroots gamers with opportunity to take the path to pro, whilst aligning with societal benefits. LDN UTD has a track record of hosting physical and digital events, aligning esports with current issues ranging from knife crime, loneliness, nutrition, diversity, and is now partnering with the Mayor of London to fuse education and esports around London.

Alfonso Leon

Alfonso Leon is a lawyer specialized in international sports law and esports, he regularly practices before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and judicial bodies of different national federations/ confederations/ international federations providing legal advice to a wide variety of sports and esports stakeholders.

Alfonso is part of the Esports Integrity Coalition as a disciplinary panel member, and their firm devotes itself to the sports and esports field.

Alfonso is also President at the Court of Arbitration on Esports of the World Esports Consortium and lecturer in several masters on sports and esports law and frequent contributor to reviews on sports and esports law.

Dr. Cheri Blauwet

Cheri Blauwet, MD is an Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Blauwet is also a Paralympic athlete in the sport of wheelchair racing, competing for the United States Team in three Paralympic Games and bringing home a total of seven Paralympic medals. She is also a two-time winner of both the Boston and New York City Marathons. Translating her background as an athlete to the clinic setting, Dr. Blauwet now serves as a Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s Medical Committee as well as numerous other leadership roles throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Harvard Medical School Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award. She has become a global advocate for the use of sport and physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles for all individuals with disabilities.

Charles Nyambe

Charles Nyambe oversees program operations in Special Olympics in 38 countries in Africa providing strategic direction and engagement with governments and the private sector to raise awareness and gain support. He also leads fundraising efforts for Special Olympics for the Africa Region.

Formally a Sports Director and physical education teacher at the Windhoek International School, Nyambe has been involved with the Special Olympics movement since 1998 when he was approached by Special Olympics Namibia to serve as a volunteer head coach for the Program. He led Special Olympics Namibia to attend their first-ever World Summer Games in 1999, in North Carolina, USA.

His many accomplishments include winning the National Sports Administrator of the Year 2004, award from the National Sports Commission, and being appointed Namibia National Olympic Committee Assistant National Trainer, Facilitator for the World Scholar Athlete Games in New York, USA. He was appointed to serve on the International Schools accreditation team and also served as Basketball National Team coach for both Zambia and Namibia. Also, formally a Federation of International Basketball (FIBA) referee.

Najat Maalla M'jid

On 30 May 2019, the Secretary-General appointed Dr. Najat Maalla M'jid (Morocco) as his Special Representative on Violence against Children. Dr. Maalla M'jid took her position on 1st July 2019.

Dr. Maalla M´jid, a medical doctor in paediatrics, has over the last three decades devoted her life to the promotion and protection of children’s rights.  She was Head of the Paediatric Department and Director of the Hay Hassani Mother-Child hospital in Casablanca. 

Dr. M'jid was the founder of the non-governmental organisation Bayti, the first programme addressing the situation of children living and working in the streets of Morocco, and a member of the Moroccan National Council on Human Rights

From 2008 to 2014, she served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

She has vast experience in the development of national policies on the protection of the child, and has worked with several governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations.  She also worked as a lecturer in Moroccan and international universities on child rights’ protection, promotion, programming and monitoring, as well as social and development policies.  She was member of several regional and international non-governmental organisations and networks working for children’s rights, Dr. M’jid was also involved in the training of social workers, law enforcement, teachers, judges, and medical staff. 

Dr. M’jid holds a Doctorate in general medicine, a specialization in paediatrics and neonatology and a Master’s of Human Rights.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours for her strong commitment to protecting the rights of the child.

Elda Moreno

Elda Moreno leads the Council of Europe programmes on the protection of children’s rights, the promotion of human rights in and through sports as well as on the fight against doping, match fixing and violence in sport.

She designed the Programme “Building a Europe for and with Children”, participating in the development of European treaties, policies, campaigns and strategies to prevent and respond to violence against children and women, to achieve gender equality and combat trafficking in human beings.  She has also been the Director of the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children in NY and advised the Council of Europe top leadership on human rights issues and on the Organisation’s reform. Before joining the Council of Europe in 1995, she was an attorney in Spain specialised in human rights.  

Elda Moreno was born in Spain, holds a law degree and speaks Spanish, English, French and German.

Dr. Chungwon Choue

Dr. Chungwon Choue, World Taekwondo Federation’s President since 2004, was the initiator of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation project. He now holds the position of Chairman of THF’s Board of Trustees, in line with his sustained personal investment in international sports and peace.

Among the other positions he currently holds in the field, Dr. Choue is Honorary President of the Taekwondo Peace Corps and Advisor to the Korea Olympic Committee. Since 2006, he has served as president of GCS International, a NGO in consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, and as president of the Korea Fair Play Committee. He is also honorary Consul of Honduras in Korea, and holds various Professor positions at Renmin University, Beijing Shichahai Sports School, De La Salle University, Moscow State University and Beijing Forestry University.

Born on December 20th 1947, Dr. Choue graduated from Kyung Hee University in Economics in 1970. He then continued his education in International Politics with a Master degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1974, and a Ph.D. at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven of Belgium in 1984.

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