Minister of Sport to champion South Africa on the international stage

Minister of Sport to champion South Africa on the international stage

Fikile Mbalula, the South African Minister for Sport, will showcase the country's sporting achievement to a prestigious international audience from the worlds of sport, business, politics and philanthropy when he delivers the keynote speech at the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards in Cape Town on Wednesday 7th December.

The Minister for Sport will have chance to reflect on the achievements of recent years and the challenges of the future, including the country's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and its position at the heart of the sport and development field.

Mbalula's audience will include the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Chairman of the Beyond Sport Ambassadors, as well as international athletes of the calibre of Michael Johnson and many of the world's leading companies and businesses, alongside the best that South African sport, development and business has to offer, with star names including Oscar Pistorius, Bryan Habana, Natalie Du Toit, Lucas Radebe and many more.

International companies and organisations including FIFA, the NBA, the NHL, NASCAR, the Australian Football League, the Qatar Foundation, SportAccord, UNICEF, PricewaterhouseCoopers, StubHub, Sony, Virgin Atlantic, Populous and many more will also be present for one of the highest-profile international sport and business gatherings in the country’s history.

Fikile Mbalula said: "This country proved once again with the FIFA World Cup that we can stage the biggest events in the world, and we will do the same with the Beyond Sport Summit. Beyond Sport is a hugely powerful global movement and staging the event in South Africa guarantees that we will welcome many of the world's biggest companies, organisations and high-profile names, and once again showcase our success and our potential. This is a country where we can be rightly proud of our sport, and it is also a country where international business can be confident to invest."

Tony Blair, the Chairman of the Beyond Sport Ambassadors, said: "One of the reasons I'm connected with Beyond Sport is that I think sport is hugely important in terms of social policy, healthcare and anti-crime policy. I spent ten years as prime minister trying to get the system to accept that sports policy was a mainstream issue. I think what is undeniably true is that the civic society elements in the sports world do a great job, and governments should always try to encourage them and support them. Beyond Sport continues to prove how effective that work can be."

The Beyond Sport Summit will also see the winners of the Beyond Sport Awards announced. 35 projects have been shortlisted, covering 18 countries and 22 different sports. They were chosen from close to 400 entries from more than 125 countries that submitted applications to this year’s Awards. The Beyond Sport Award winners will receive a substantial package of business support to help them grow and become sustainable in the future.

Beyond Sport is a global initiative that seeks to celebrate and support any organisation or individual with the goal to drive positive social change through sport. Its global partners are Barclays Spaces for Sports, TIME Inc and UNICEF.

For the full programme of the 2011 Beyond Sport Summit and Awards, or for more information on Beyond Sport, visit www.beyondsport.org

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