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Panel announced for National Sport Integrity Forum

Former Socceroo and human rights activist Craig Foster, Olympic gold medallist and IOC Member James Tomkins OAM along with former athletes Tamsyn Lewis Manou and Mianne Bagger will be joined by World Players Association Executive Director Brendan Schwab and Victorian Office for Women in Sport and Recreation head Dr Bridie O’Donnell at the 2019 National Sport Integrity forum in Melbourne next month.

Presented by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Victoria University and Sport Australia, the fourth edition of the integrity forum will be held in Melbourne on Tuesday 23rd July, the opening night of the National Sports Convention.

National sport leaders will come together to discuss the topic: The Rise of Athlete Rights: The Fair Play aGENDER as the escalation of the individual athlete’s voice in seeking to establish and advocate their rights becomes a key driver of both public opinion and sport policy.

A range of issues focussing on athletes’ rights and integrity beyond 2020, including the ongoing case of Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, will be discussed by the panel featuring:

Mianne Bagger – Former touring professional golfer and transitioned woman
A transitioned woman, in order to progress to professional level, Mianne Bagger lobbied the main professional golf tours around the world in 2003 to request the “female at birth” eligibility criteria be overturned, in favour of broader medical and science-based understanding of physiological impacts of transition. In 2004, rules were changed on tours in Sweden, Ladies European Tour, Australia, UK and South Africa, granting Mianne access to compete professionally. She enjoyed an 11-year touring career throughout Europe and Australia with a number of top 10 finishes.

Craig Foster – Former Socceroo captain, commentator and human rights activist
A former Socceroo captain who played 29 times for the country, Craig Foster is one of the most respected broadcasters, commentators and contributors of the game in Australia. When not covering FIFA World Cups of both genders, Craig works in the sphere of social justice through programs with refugee and indigenous children, using football to provide life opportunities. Life Member, former CEO and Chairman of PFA (Professional Footballers Australia), the representative body of Australia’s professional players, Craig is a refugee and human rights ambassador with Amnesty, sits on the Australia Committee for Human Rights Watch, Advisory Board of the Australian Institute of Human Rights, UNSW and the Australian Multicultural Council, Federal Government.

Tamsyn Lewis Manou – Olympian and commentator
A winner of 18 Australian titles over 400m, 400m hurdles and 800m, Tamysn first competed for Australia as a 16-year-old at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. She won the 2008 world indoor 800m title and competed at three Olympic Games in the 800m and missed a spot in the final at the Sydney Olympic Games by just one place. She is part of the Channel Seven Olympic and Commonwealth Games commentary team.

Dr Bridie O’Donnell – Director, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, Victorian Government
Dr Bridie O’Donnell MBBS is the inaugural head of Victoria’s Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, established to increase the number of women and girls participating in sport and active recreation, from grassroots through to senior leadership roles. After early success as an elite rower and in Ironman Triathlon, Bridie took time out from her medical career to take up full-time cycling at the age of 35, quickly rising through the ranks to represent Australia at three world road cycling championships.

Brendan Schwab – Executive Director, World Players Association
Brendan Schwab is an Australian lawyer with expertise in labour and human rights law, organising, collective bargaining and dispute resolution, particularly in professional team sports after 25 years leading major player associations and representing elite athletes in Australia and around the world. In July 2015, he was appointed the inaugural Executive Director of World Players, which unites over 100 player associations based in more than 60 countries.

James Tomkins OAM – IOC Member and Athletes Commission Member
James Tomkins was elected an IOC Member in 2013 and is currently a member of three IOC Commissions – Athletes’, Olympic Program and Marketing. Tomkins is Australia’s most decorated rower of all time. Competing in six Olympic Games, Tomkins rowed in three events: the coxless four, men’s eight, and men’s pair, winning three gold and one bronze medal. Tomkins won seven world titles and is the only rower in history to win world titles in every sweep oar event. In his sixth and final Olympics in London in 2012, James was awarded the honour of being Australia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame later that year.

Tracey Holmes – Moderator
For the past three decades Tracey Holmes has worked in journalism and communication. She has anchored her own programs on radio and television in several countries and is a published author. Tracey’s work has been broadcast on some of the world’s most respected media platforms (ABC & SBS Australia, CNN International, CGTN China, Arirang TV Korea). As an educator Tracey has designed programs for, and lectured at, UTS, AFTRS, the Asian Broadcasting Union and is lead mentor for the IOC’s Young Reporters Program. She has twice been named as a finalist in Australian journalism’s most prestigious awards, the Walkley’s. Her weekly sports issues podcast, The Ticket, is a finalist in the 2019 New York Radio Awards.

Panel members will be complemented by front-row topic specialists including:

Kim Brennan AM – Olympic gold medallist; Deputy Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Matti Clements, Deputy Director, Australian Institute of Sport – Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement
Dr David Hughes, Chief Medical Officer, Australian Institute of Sport
Steve Johnson, CEO, Wellbeing Science Institute
Dr Sarah Oxford, Sociologist, Victoria University; expert on gender and inclusion in sport
Professor Julian Savulescu, Co-Director, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities University of Oxford
David Sharpe, CEO, ASADA
Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, Head of Department of Adolescent Medicine at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne

Victoria University Professor of International Sport Business Hans Westerbeek said issues of fairness, inclusion and athlete rights are central and growing themes in world sport.

“Athletes like Caster Semenya are making headlines in Australia and around the world as sport grapples with balancing athlete rights and what is fair,” Professor Westerbeek said.

“Restrictions resulting from IOC Rule 40, and equity of broadcast and sponsorship revenue distribution are now being challenged globally and closer to home as athlete and player unions grow in voice and force.

“The question begs, what is fair and this will be discussed in detail at the forum.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame chair, John Bertrand AO said, “Sport faces many new and challenging frontiers.”

“Considered and compassionate discussion around the issues and the repercussions is important in the context of not only athletes’ rights but also the impact on the broader global community.

“As thought leaders, Victoria University, Sport Australia, and we at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame plan this topic to form the centrepiece of discussions at our National Sport Integrity Forum in July,” Bertrand said.

National Sport Integrity Forum
The Rise of Athlete Rights: The Fair Play aGENDER

Date: Tuesday 23 July 2019
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre


Vale Ron Barassi AM

Vale Ron Barassi AM

27/02/1936 – 16/09/2023 The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is mourning the passing of esteemed Member…

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