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First ASPC African Sport Forum opens in Durban

Day one of the first ASPC African Sport Forum kicked off at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where over 300 delegates from across the continent, 150 sports leaders, administrators, coaches and Kwazulu-Natal athletes were in attendance.

Around 150 elite athletes also attended the ASPC workshop, referred to as the Life After the Podium, which ran parallel to day one of the forum.

The forum is hosted by the Association of Sport Performance Centres in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation, and is supported by SASCOC, the eThekwini Municipality as well as the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Under the theme ‘African Solutions for African Athletes’, the forum covered issues on good governance, transformation and the business of sport. This allowed the interactive attendees to share their knowledge and best practice as each topic was discussed in a related panel.

Day one covered topics such as multiculturalism in sport, principles of good governance, public-private partnerships, IOC athlete support programmes and the role of the ASPC in sport, which were all presented by representatives from different institutions.

KZN MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation Bongi Sithole-Moloi said there’s no doubt that the main thrust of the sport development programmes is to ensure that transformation is achieved in all sport codes.

‘In our province, we have the Elite Athlete Development Programme to assist in creating more podium athletes. Although the programme is scoring important successes, it’s not enough to cater for all the talent from KwaZulu-Natal, especially in rural areas and townships. It is, therefore, our hope and expectation, that this forum will be able to bring forward lessons and solutions,’ said the MEC.

Dr Kevin Subban, ASPC continental vice-president for Africa, said that this was the first time that the ASPC hosted a continental forum in Africa, and hopes that the various countries involved share relevant knowledge and expertise on the current African sporting context.

‘This forum has created a unique opportunity for leaders in sport to meet, share knowledge and build networks to benefit our athletes and the sports in Africa as a whole,’ said Subban.

Meanwhile, the Durban Chamber hosted the full-day ASPC workshop – life after the podium, which caters for elite athletes by equipping them with life and business skills, which will enable them to plan and manage their lives and finances during and after sport.

With the theme ‘Making a game plan your life’, the workshop got under way with a panel discussion where former athletes shared their life stories and experiences.

Part of the panel was Delron Buckley, former South African footballer and owner of the Delron Buckley Soccer School, who stressed that workshops like these are crucial.

‘These workshops create awareness for athletes and foster knowledge and skills development in order to provide balance for athletes who are busy managing their life in and out of sport,’ said Buckley.

Also part of the panel was the retired South African footballer MacBeth Sibaya who shared how elite athletes know their body capabilities and that such workshops serve to educate and upskill elite athletes to win off the field of competition.

The ASPC workshop covered topics on financial planning, marketing your best product ‘YOU’, legal contracts and life after the podium, which were also presented by representatives from various institutions. The Durban Chamber concluded the workshop by informing the athletes on how they can register their businesses and other related details.

Durban Chamber president Musa Makhunga expressed that empowering athletes with business skills and knowledge can only strengthen their active participation in the economy.

Day one of the forum was concluded with an official mayoral reception at uShaka Marine World Aquarium, to welcome the athletes and international delegates to the first ASPC African Sport Forum, by eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, who said she was pleased with the turnout of the delegates.

Photo: Dale Henwood, the Global President of the ASPC addressing the opening of the 1st ASPC African Sport Forum in Durban on Thursday, with (from left) Mrs Bongi Sithole-Moloi, Acting CEO of SASCOC Patience Shikwambana and MC Amanda Dlamini, supplied by Gameplan Media.