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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cooperation Across Borders, On Dryland And In The Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Canada, Mexico and the United States announced a joint bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup at a press conference earlier this week in New York City.

CONCACAF and Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani, United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, and Mexican Football Federation president Decio de Maria joined together and explained about their bid to jointly host the 48-team tournament, "We gave careful consideration to the prospect of bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and ultimately feel strongly this is the right thing for our region and for our sport. When our nations come together as one, as we will for 2026, there is no question the United States, Mexico and Canada will deliver an experience that will celebrate the game and serve players, supporters and partners alike."

Gulati also explained that American President Trump is fully supportive of the bid and had encouraged it. "We decided in the end that we wanted to bid with our partners in North America and we have a strong encouragement from President Trump to that very end."

Like his dryland colleagues in the world of soccer, Oded Rahav of Israel is attempting to do his part in the realm of Speedo diplomacy in the Pacific Ocean.

Rahav will participate in the Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a 10 km cross-border swim from California to Tijuana, Mexico on May 5th.

"The swim is a global initiative, bringing together 12 swimmers from South Africa, USA, Mexico, New Zealand and Israel, to swim for the Colibrí Centre for Human Rights – a foundation that works tirelessly to end migrant death and the related suffering of families along the US-Mexico border," described Nicolene Steynberg of Madswimmer. "The swim was inspired by the incredible Dead Sea Swim completed last year [which Rahav participated in and helped organize]."

Rahav explained a bit about the swim:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why do you want to participate in this swim?

Oded Rahav: As a man of this world, I have a responsibility. The world is flat; events occurring on one side of the globe reflect and affect instantly on the other side. Humanity, for quite some time, is in chaos and it is up to us, those who care, to stand up and act. No matter where you live, no matter what your origin, race, gender, faith, age- you are a man of the universe and thus you have a duty- to make this a better place. We swimmers found that swimming is a unique and humble way to express our believes and feelings. Waters unite us all, and when it comes to human rights we will cross oceans.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you looking forward to the swim?

Oded Rahav: I’m definitely looking forward for this swim. After weeks of uncertainty, bureaucracy, logistics, training it is all coming together.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How are cross-border swims different from your typical marathon swims and channel swims?

Oded Rahav: This will be my 4th cross-border swim. Cross-border swims have an extra “edge” since you have to deal with strict methods, rules, culture, law, armed forces. You have to “knit” it very gently, respecting all parties. It forces you to be flexible, out of the box and humble. It is always surprising, from the first step till the very end. And what I like most is the fact that you begin with one culture and language, and end with another one. You gaze at this stretch of water dividing people and you say to yourself “Wow, I’m so small”.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is there anyone in the group who you have not met before and who you wish to meet and swim with?

Oded Rahav: I’m ever so thrilled to meet those swimmers and kayakers whom we spoke over the phone or Skype. There is this thing with open water swimmers; they become family in seconds and trust one another. The best comradery.

For more information, visit the event website or read Pan-American Colibrí Swim Crosses Borders.

To donate or volunteer for the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, visit here.

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