Yesterday, during the SportAccord Convention, four Spirit of Sport Awards were bestowed. The Spirit of Sport Award was created by the SportAccord Council in 2002 to commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change. The Awards Ceremony was included for the first time in the SportAccord Convention program giving the Winners more significant media exposure. 1 Individual and 3 Project Awards were presented by Ms Charmaine Crooks, President, NGU consultants Inc, and five-time Olympian and Olympic Silver Medalist and Mr John Amaechi, organisational consultant, high-performance executive coach, New York Times best-selling author, and former NBA basketball star. Award Commission Chair, Mr Don Porter, President of the International Softball Federation (ISF) handed Ms Crooks the envelopes with the 2012 Spirit of Sport Awards Laureates:
Ms Sylvana Mestre, IPC
FIDE, Chess Brings Freedom project
ITTF Women’s Development Program
5th CISM Military World games - The Peace Games
The winning projects are quite diverse in size, type and geographic implementation but all represent good practices and have produced inspiring results:
Individual Winner, Ms Sylvana Mestre was nominated by the IPC for 14 years of dedication on the fields of sport and disability. Ms Mestre co-founded Play and Train with Mariona Masdemont in 2010. The organization’s main objective is to provide people with a disability and their families the opportunities to practice, learn and train in sports and leisure activities, regardless of their ability, gender or age. Play and Train has organized camps, training and cultural programmes to achieve these goals in a manner that is sustainable and leads to long-term development of sport for persons with a disability.
Winning Project, FIDE’s Chess Brings Freedom is on-going program in the State of Espírito Santo, Brazil since 2005. The project aims for the intellectual development of children and youth enrolled in regular public schools; enables children and teenagers from risky areas to have access to social inclusion; provides inmates rehabilitation in prisons through the change of attitude; and enables the practice of an alternative sport and activities in the treatment of chemical addicted persons.
Second place laureate, ITTF Women’s Development Program is a global program implemented in 48 countries spread over 5 continents, since 2003. The program works for the overall empowerment of women and strive for global and universal gender equity and equality. More specifically, it aims to provide equal opportunities, training and knowledge to women to reach their leadership potential and play an active role in sport as officials and coaches.
The third prize was awarded to the 16-23 July 2011 CISM organized 5th Military World Games under the motto – The Peace Games. Many Peace and Development related projects and actions were organized carrying an important peace message to be addressed worldwide. Amongst these actions there was a Solidarity Travel Plan, a Seminar on Sport, Development and Peace, several sustainability initiatives and important partnerships with Higher Education Institutions as well as the symbolism behind the design of medals, logo, ceremonies and The Peace Games mascot.
The Spirit of Sport Awards 2012 are in great hands with such well deserving and inspirational projects and individuals. We hope that the Spirit of Sport Award will continue to inspire and promote the use of sport for creating positive social change in communities around the world.