The Power of Sport!
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” Nelson Mandela.
This power was truly evident in the 2020 First Citizens Sports Awards, 58th year of celebration, which was set against the magnificent heritage site of the Castle Killarney. Our very own multi-cultural groups entertained with the sweet melodic sounds of our local music that added a groovy ambience to the enchanting castle. Aired on television on March 28, the show highlighted numerous areas in which sport has had a positive impact on individuals and the community. For the first time, the show featured athletes engaged in volunteer work giving back to their communities in areas, which included support for women dealing with domestic violence and the development of effective solutions to cope with mental and physical health issues.
Over 50 nominees from 23 sport disciplines along with a few sporting heroes of yesteryear spoke of their story of resilience. The very first Sportsman, Roger Gibbon and Sportswoman, Joan Porter, crowned in 1962 and 1971 respectively gave words of inspiration to the athletes and the viewing television audience. The show captivated viewers, providing noteworthy information of our country’s rich and almost forgotten sport history. Here are some inspirational quotes shared by awardees and Hall of Famers during the show:
Bridget Adams (netball) – 1991 Sportswoman of the Year and 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee: “My guiding principles were excellence, respect, courage and passion… Set achievable goals; achieving a goal… can be a tremendous motivator. Set goals that can be accomplished, because reaching those goals will be rewarding to your sporting career”.
Andrew Lewis (sailing) – 2020 Athletics Nominee: “Recently asked the question: What will I like to put on my tomb stone? I said; someone to be an example of.”
Debra O’Connor (badminton) – 1985, 1986, 1990, 1993 Sportswoman of the Year, 2000 Hall of Fame Inductee: “No excuses, No Exceptions… keep on striving to be the best that you can be, No excuses, No Exceptions”.
Tyra Gittens (athletics) – 2020 Athletics Nominee: “The pandemic was a blessing, I was able to work on things that I just wasn’t good at, I was able to Stop; Reset; and Rebuild; and that helped me to build the foundation I needed for 2021…”
Chris Dennis (surfing) – Waves of Hope Positive Story feature: “Be inspired, live inspired, don’t fall for desperation, find strength within yourself because we are all humans and we are all perfectly imperfect”.
The First Citizens Sports Foundation is proud to recognise these athletes in what was an especially challenging year for sport.
This year’s theme “Light Emerges, Hope Prevails” exemplified all that these athletes represent.