Sweden and Lebanon
Bandy is a sport like ice hockey, but played with a ball instead of a puck. And, it is usually played in countries like Russia or Finland, in the far north. But as Mary Harper found, there is now a Somali national bandy team, that is good enough to participate in the forthcoming world championships. Mary watched them practise in their new hometown of Borlänge, in Sweden, where close to 10% of the population is Somali. The bandy team was started by local Swedish volunteers who tried to improve relations between the two communities.
Over in Lebanon, sport is proving to be more frustrating - particularly basketball - which is as popular as football there. As Lucy Knight reports, the national team had to return early from Taiwan last year, as they were banned from the Asia Championship after two rival Lebanese teams got into a dispute. When the country's basketball federation failed to sort out the problem, the Lebanese national team was banned from international championships. The players are angry and reluctant to even play for their national team now. Why are the rivalries so intransigent? Lucy finds that the clubs have links with political parties, who use the game to gain support when they need to. And who turn molehills, such as a row over a match result, into mountains.
Photo: Credit: AFP-Getty Images-Jonathan Nackstrand