UJ’s Olympic Studies Centre explores innovative approaches in SA sport

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to promote and unite people from all social classes, cultures and backgrounds, and to support people who wish to excel in a positive way.” These were the sentiments shared at the three day symposium themed ‘Debating Issues and Controversies in Modern Sport: From the Global to the Local“, on 5 September 2018, at Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus.

The University of Johannesburg Olympic Studies Centre (UJ-OSC) in collaboration with the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE/CIEPS) hosted the event.

International experts discussed major issues and controversies in global sports with national academics and SASCOC leadership, contextualising discourses and stimulated debates on issues such as gender equality, social transformation, school sport, sport event legacy.

“ICSSPE is one of the most influential global organisations in the field of multi-disciplinary sport studies and physical education. The organisation is mostly responsible for organising the pre-Olympic Scientific Conferences and took a leadership role in the discussions of MINEPS VI and the production of the KAZAN Plan in 2017,” said Prof Cora Burnett-Louw, UJ’s Research Professor and Director of Olympic Studies Centre.

The conference was comprised of three days of exciting activities. The first day saw various speakers, presentations and panel discussions, which included discussions on Sport events and the economic impacts; Funding models for sport in SA; Citius+Altius+Fortuis+Captosius: What does it mean for sport?; Elite sport and national identity; The gender gap in South Africa; sport coaching Social case for South Africa in sport; Doping in Sport; The coaching environment of SA and Physical Education and school sport in Gauteng. The second day was Dr Sam Ramsamy’s lecture on “Recent developments in international sport” and on the third and final day the conference came to a conclusion with the ICSSPE General Assembly.

Also speaking at the event was the Honourable Mr Gert Oosthuizen – Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, who briefly touched on the KAZAN Action Plan and relevance for South Africa. His emphasis was on the need to develop a comprehensive vision of inclusive access for all, physical education and physical activity; maximising the contribution of sport to sustainable development and peace and in protecting the integrity of sport.

SASCOC President, Gideon Sam commented: “As the national sports committee, we acknowledge and value such important conferences that provide a platform to talk about major issues and controversies of global sports.”

“The ICSSPE Conference provides a platform to share ideas at an international level on different issues on sport and in turn how these could affect athletes’ performances. We envisage that this will stimulate positive change in the sport industry in our country, thereby improving South Africa’s team performance at the upcoming events such as Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” Sam added.

Global members of ICSSPE used this opportunity to further advance ICSSPE activities on the African continent.

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