Leaders of Australian sport commit to developing a national response to the issue of Health and Participation at the inaugural Captains’ Forum
For the first time, over 20 captains and leaders of Australian sport convened on November 2009 at Parliament House in Canberra to discuss and develop a national response to emerging challenges impacting sport and the broader community.
The 2009 Captains’ Forum, an initiative of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in partnership with the Australian Sports Commission, brought together 24 of Australia’s leading champions representing 19 different sports.
“As chairman of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, I am delighted that our organization has been able to bring together for the first time, champions of so many sports,” said Yachting Great John Bertrand AM. “These talented athletes have given their time to participate in this initiative to work together to have a positive impact in the Australian community.”
The forum is the culmination of an extensive six month research program undertaken by Management Consultancy Booz & Company. The program included over 60 in depth interviews with industry stakeholders including athletes, politicians, sports administrators, media and corporate executives to gain multiple perspectives, insights and experiences.
“The process undertaken by Booz & Co and the Captains’ Forum team to bring this concept to fruition has been rigorous,” said Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Wallabies great John Eales AM. “Our research showed that some of the more prominent challenges facing Australian sport today include violence and abuse, sportsmanship, alcohol, social integration and equality, and use of illicit drugs. Whilst each of these issues are challenges for Australian sport and the broader community, the Captains’ Forum participants have committed to developing a national response to the issue of Health and Participation.”
“The Captains’ Forum represented many different sports; however a strong unified theme emerged that there is a real need to communicate the benefits of participation in sport,” said AFL Geelong Premiership Captain Tom Harley. “Participation however is even more than playing; there are great social benefits in being involved in sport, whether that’s as a player, administrator or a score keeper.”
“Sport is something that everyone can be involved in,” said Sharelle McMahon, Australian netball captain. “Participating in sport develops self esteem and self respect. There is great value and a myriad of benefits to the community.”
The Minister for Sport Kate Ellis said she looks forward to working with the Captains’ Forum to encourage all Australians to get active and lead a healthy lifestyle. “The challenge of rising obesity rates and falling participation in grassroots sport can be tackled with a united effort from all of us. Boosting participation in grassroots sport brings immense national health benefits, but it also creates the future elite sporting champions that we are so proud of.”
Sporting champions who participated in this historic day in Australian sport included AFL Geelong Premiership Captain Tom Harley, from Rugby League Bulldogs player Andrew Ryan and Canberra Raiders Captain Alan Tongue, Women’s Rugby League Captain Tahnee Norris, Olympian Swimming Champions Libby Trickett, Patrick Murphy and Grant Hackett, Walker Nathan Deakes, Paralympics Swimmer Matthew Cowdrey, from Basketball Kristi Harrower and Jason Smith, Hockeyroos Captain Madonna Blyth, Australian Netball Captain Sharelle McMahon, V8 Supercars Champion Mark Skaife, Rugby Unions’ Nathan Sharp and Cheryl Soon, Wheelchair Basketball’s Tina McKenzie, Water Polo Captain James Stanton, from Tennis Davis Cup Captain John Fitzgerald, Surf Lifesaving Captain Shannon Eckstein, from Cricket, Australian Women’s Captain Jodie Fields, Rowing Captains’ Kim Crowe and David Crawshay and from Soccer, Matilda’s Captain Thea Slatyer.
The sporting leaders who attended the inaugural Captains’ Forum have committed to work together to develop a plan of attack on how they can use their collective influence and experience to encourage more Australian’s to get involved and enjoy the many benefits of sport.