Seles to attend Laureus gathering in Gauteng, Africa
Some of the world's most influential sportsmen and women are to attend next month's Laureus World Sports Academy Forum in Gauteng. It will the first time the forum is held in Africa.
The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of 42 of the greatest living sporting legends who share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and to improve the lives of young people around the world.
The Academy members act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, volunteering their time to visit projects in order to draw attention to the problems afflicting society today.
Among the members who are to attend the Laureus Academy Forum are Giacomo Agostini (former world motorcycling champion), Kip Keino (former Olympic middle distance champion), Morné du Plessis (former Springbok rugby captain), Boris Becker (winner of multiple grand slam tennis titles), Franz Klammer (former Olympic ski champion), Hugo Porta (former Argentinian rugby player, regarded as the best ever to come from Argentina), Bobby Charlton (former England footballer), Edwin Moses (former Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion and world record holder), Monica Seles (multiple tennis grand slam winner), Kapil Dev (Indian cricketer regarded as one of the greatest allrounders of all time), Nawal El Moutawakel (former Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion), Mark Spitz (winner of seven swimming gold medals at Munich Olympics in 1972), David Douillet (former world judo champion), Ilie Nastase (former world number one and US Open tennis champion), Daley Thompson (former world and Olympic decathlon champion), Emerson Fittipaldi (former world motor-racing champion) and Martina Navratilova (holder of record number of grand slam tennis titles).
At the Academy Forum, to be held in Johannesburg from November 5-9, the members of the Laureus Academy will discuss organisational issues, the consolidation and growth of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the development of Laureus's global sporting community through enlisting more Laureus Friends & Ambassadors.
Particular focus will be given to Laureus's work in Africa, where the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation tackles a range of social issues from child soldiers, AIDS and homelessness to poverty, racial issues and abuse -- in each case using sport as the tool for social change.
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses said "At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, our patron Nelson Mandela said sport has the power to change the world and the power to unite people in a way little else does. That message has become the mantra of Laureus. Nowhere is that philosophy more true than in Africa.
"Africa has a unique vibrancy and spirit, but it also faces overwhelming challenges. We cannot overcome them all at once but we can, with the support of partners around the world and the focus of the world sports community, contribute by changing one playing field at a time."
The Laureus Academy Forum will be supported by the Gauteng Provincial Government and financial services company Discovery -- the founding partner of the South African chapter of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which currently backs nine projects in the country. Laureus also provides support for projects in Chad, Kenya and Uganda.
Morné du Plessis, chairman of Laureus South Africa, said he was delighted that the Laureus Academy Forum will be coming to South Africa.
"I like to think that South Africa is a perfect example of what Laureus can do. We support projects throughout the country to help underprivileged young people, and we have the enthusiastic backing of the business community, which makes our work possible.
"Gauteng is known as the home of champions and competitive sport and therefore a natural choice for the Laureus Academy Forum. The next few years will be very exciting in South Africa as we build up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The Laureus Academy Forum is the perfect precursor to that."