Nelson Mandela Sports Day, a Good Springboard to Promote Fairness in Sports

August 10, 2013 1:35 pm0 comments by:

Nelson Mandela picCountries or organization arrange sporting events as a powerful tool to promote an objective. The objective of a sporting event could be for celebration of an achievement, promotion of ideas, competition or inspiration. In certain cases, sports events are planned just to unite together a group of individuals.

On 17th August 2013, South Africa will host a sports day to honour Nelson Mandela. South’s Africa National Football (Bafana Bafana) will play the Nigerian National Team (Super Eagles) at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg. The National Rugby Team Springboks will also play on the day, against Argentina.

According to a statement from the South Africa’s Department of Sport and Recreation,” the objective of this gathering is aimed at uniting the country and the world in celebration and promotion of Mandela’s Legacy”. The Mandela Sports day will include music concert and cultural activities. It is a good idea to use sports as a tool to unite a country and the world.

We live in various locations of the world and with varied career paths. Sporting events bring together everyone for a worthy purpose. The objective of this particular event is to honour Nelson Mandela, a national leader. But, it could also serve as a promotion of a philosophy. The idea is that sports people have to compete fairly and avoid looking for cheating methods.

Nelson Mandela is an example of a person who is revered and a supporter of fair play. He campaigned for fairness and respect for one another evidence in 1995 Rugby World Cup staged in South Africa. He was a source of inspiration then for the Bafana Bafana to win the Cup, and continues to do so now.

There were young kids around the world, old enough in 1995 to fully understand his impact. They are inspired by the achievement of their sporting heroes, who become role models. Kids play sports as a career path to celebrity status. There is ongoing debate as to whether sporting athletes or non sporting legends like Nelson Mandela should be role models. This is a debate that will continue for many years. My view of a role model should start from your family and then spread out to relatives, friends.

There is a massive pressure on a sports person to succeed in their individual fields. The pressure comes from their immediate family, sponsors or fans. This results in a minority taking enhancing drugs to boost performance. Every day, month or year, there are cases of failed drug test. This month (August 2013) we have issues with baseball players playing in Major League involved in taking performance enhancing drugs. Last month, it was top athletics who failed drug tests. They will be banned for lengthy periods but it will not stop possibly same people looking for illegal advantage.

Fans strongly dislike cheaters and regard unfair acts as a part of the game. This view is picked up by the younger generation, who grow up regarding playing fair as a disadvantage. They should learn from Nelson Mandela’s stance of fairness and respect. I recommend stricter punishment is given for unfair players. Individuals that cheat to gain advantage start by playing unfairly on a regular basis. The problem is to differentiate intentional and non intentional cases. It is not always as clear as the disgraceful football event that occurred recently in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Plateau United FC’s Feeder team scored a whopping 79 un-replied goals to overcome Akurba FC of Nasarawa.Also, the Police Machine FC, Adamawa “crushed” Babayaro FC of Gombe 67-0 both in the Nigeria Nation Wide League NNWL Division 4.
Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine FC were tied on four points each with the same goal difference, and needed the last matches to qualify into NNWL Division 3.
The four teams were placed on an indefinite suspension by the NFA on July 8, pending further investigations into the matter. The matter is closed with the clubs now disbanded indefinitely.

The organisers of each sport are trying to eradicate cheaters and should look closer on regular unfair defaulters.
Former WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) president Dick Pound as part of a 5 person working group has written a 26 page report “Lack of Effectiveness of Testing programs” for WADA, assessing the current state of drug testing. It states anti-doping programs are failing, despite increased testing and scientific advances to detect more sophisticated substances.

Drug cheats are getting away because of lack of will among sports organisations, governments and wait for it athletes. Dick Pound served as WADA’s first Chairman from 1999-2008. He is also a senior member of the International Olympic Committee.

I hope that the participants of Mandela Cup show the world that you can compete hard and fair. This is a good platform as lots of sporting figures will take interest in this event, organised to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s Legacy. Their experiences is passed to their millions of fans via various communications mediums. The problem is whether the impressionable kids  still believe their sports role models  are playing fair.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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