25 AUGUST 2017

Day one of the 10th International Forum on Elite Sport kicked off with a bang as experts in various fields of the sports fraternity took to the stage to share knowledge and insight.

“The Forum got off to an excellent start” says Brendon Goodenough, Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee and MD of Prime Human Prime Institute.
“I was particularly proud of the SA speakers. There were numerous compliments from international delegates about the quality of the presentations, proving yet again that our scientists and business leaders are among the best in the world.”

Gary Kirsten, former coach of the World Cup winning Indian Cricket Team was first to share with the 300 strong crowd his experiences in leadership in high performance environments. The self-proclaimed “reluctant leader” opened by establishing that, to him, more than anything “Leadership means making a significant difference in someone’s life.”

“One of the fundamental keys is to first gain the trust of the team and find a bigger purpose in them that encourages them to be better sportsmen. In the search for purpose is where champions are made,” South Africa’s former opening batsman said.

“Through research with leading sportsmen and women, I have learned that the qualities that they desire most in their leaders are integrity, approachability, humility and empathy Because not everything is about you as a leader. It’s about the players in the team.”

Dr Phatho Cele-Zondi, CEO of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa said that leadership is looking beyond all components that tell you that you cannot, to believing that you can. “Re-thinking leadership to me meant learning to swim with the sharks and showing that I am strong,” said Dr Zondi. She added that leaders are people who acknowledge reality and offer hope. They can bring people together and build bridges.

Peter Pfitzinger and Martin Dowson (GM of Capacity and Expertise and GM of Athlete Performance Support at High Performance Sports New Zealand), spoke on sustainable excellence. They both agreed that leadership was an integral part of building sustainability. “To sustain excellence one must understand the value proposition and be updated on trends,” said Dowson. They added that the creation of a great environment and culture opens the windows to a clear vision amongst athletes. “In New Zealand we work as a team, as teamwork is very vital in accomplish what you seek to accomplish. All our team players are valuable to us and that is what makes us strong.”

Ross Tucker, Sports Scientist for World Rugby spoke of talent identification of champions. He said that one of the biggest challenges in the sporting industry is limited resources. Tucker said that it is important for athletes to be personally developed before being given “champion” status, insisting that champions must be given an opportunity to grow before they are placed in an elite competition level.

The second day of the international conference is currently underway with insightful speakers sharing the platform. Speakers include; Dr Gael Guilem, Dr Francesc Cos and Xavi Reche who are tackling the topic of Innovation and Technology in Elite Sport. They will be followed by Dr Akshai Mansingh, Shaun Pollock and Ian Thomas who will speak on Teamwork.

For further details on the content of each session, please log log on to http://elitesport10.com where the conference is being live streamed


CONTACT:Ms Taweni Gondwe Xaba
Media Liaison
10th International Forum on Elite Sport
+27 (0) 720232552 / taweni.gondwe@gmail.com