The former Australia cricket captain and Laureus Academy member Steve Waugh believes that the ball-tampering controversy in the test series between South Africa and Australia, and the resultant fall-out, was an important moment for all sport.
He was speaking to the Power of Sport podcast on the side-lines of the recent Laureus Global Summit in Paris where 130 Laureus-supported programmes from around the world gathered.
The three-day event sought to “focus on ways in which sport can shape a society where people with different physical and intellectual needs are fully integrated, and where women and girls participate equally”.
Waugh, who played 168 tests for Australia, said that the incident involving Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft had a lasting effect: “It affected world sport I think, not just Australian sport, but it was good because I think it made people accountable for their actions. I guess for too long we sat pretty idle on those things like ball tampering and very minor sort of fines for captains in the past, and the captains have got to (now) lead the way.
“I think Australian Cricket, to their credit went hard, it was a pretty severe penalty that those guys have paid but to their credit they accepted it and got on with it.
“The good thing about it that is that it’s a valuable lesson to all sports kids around the world that you’ve got to play fair, play hard and if you step outside of those boundaries that there’s a penalty that you’ve got to pay for.”
Waugh was among a host of Academy members and Ambassadors who feature prominently in this episode including the likes of Sean Fitzpatrick, Daley Thompson, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Bryan Habana, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Lehmann and Dan Nicholl, as well as special guest, Maps Maponyane. That’s alongside aside a host of delegates and key personnel from programmes across the world.
For many of the attendees this was their first time at a global summit and the opportunity to come together to share a varied set of experiences was hugely valuable. A series of workshops explored the variety of challenges all the programmes face; while there were major panel discussions around inclusion, gender equality, social cohesion and mobility.
Laureus South Africa had the biggest delegation at the summit including trustee Marlene Coetzee-George, who shared her thoughts as the event drew to a close.
“I think that we’ve done well. We managed to get 24 of our projects here and by the level of engagement, when we split into groups, often the people that got up to give feedback were South Africans making valuable comments and giving valuable feedback.
“So I think that the learning here has been amazing for them and I think they’ve been able to contribute to other people’s learning, which I think is good. Often we bring projects here so that they can learn but I think that experience has been very mutual and I think that’s the thing that’s that excited me most.
“I am very proud, this started very small but being here and to see how big we are now, and how well we have done to instil good values and understanding of Laureus, and what we want to achieve on the ground, that makes me very proud.”
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