Sports Industry Forum Key Takeaways
The Corporate Sports team had the immense privilege of attending the Sport Industry Series Forums in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai to glean insights from male and female pioneers in the sports industry. Here are some of the key takeaways from the two events:
Women Leaders in Sport & Health, part of the Sport Industry Series (Abu Dhabi Ladies Club – 24 Sep 2019)
Dr. Teoh Chin Sim, the first female sports physician in Singapore, believes that “it takes great self-belief to be better than normal” in her response to working with people of determination who inspire her every day. Human beings find a way to do the impossible when they stop trying to fit into the traditional frames of ‘normal society’. She enthusiastically expressed that changing your mindset when faced with adversity, is the only way to re-shape your situation from something seemingly insurmountable into something you can work with and through. A particularly insightful comment came from one of her patients who is confined to a wheelchair permanently, she said, ‘I am not wheelchair bound, I am wheelchair liberated. Without this wheelchair, I would not be able to move anywhere because of my paralysis. I am liberated with it” – it’s all about perspective and mindset!
Dr. Chin Sim also expressed that “exercise is medicine” and is crucially linked to the reduced risk of lifestyle diseases as it is one of the methods used to reduce weight and combat obesity. Additionally, she explained that “exercise also has psychological benefits such as [the development and reinforcement of] self-esteem and social integration” which ultimately provides people with a sense of belonging in purpose.
Dr. Heidi Alaskary, a passionate speech pathologist by training and the Acting Director of Planning & Development, at the General Sport Authority Saudi, explained that the speed of change [an advancement] occurring in Saudi Arabia has been exceptional in the past two years, and is accelerating to promote the construction of necessary infrastructure to support the development of elite athletes in the region. The region is also focused on various inclusive initiatives to expand access to sports to everyone, from elite athletes to mass participation and supporting the sports economy as a whole.
Manal Adel Rostom, a Muslim athlete from Egypt, has completed over 20 marathons and mountain-climbs wearing the hijab. She has broken the traditions by seeking her own truth within the parameters of her religion, passionately pursuing her dreams and motivating young girls along the way, that they too can pursue their dreams. Nothing is beyond their reach, but the things truly worth going for, will present a tough road. She advocated persistence in the face of hearing ‘no’, and being true to who you are as a person, as a Muslim and as an athlete.
Sports Industry Forum Series – Future Sponsorship (Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai – 25 Sep 2019)
Alan Pascoe MBE, founder of CSM Sport & Entertainment, and former Vice-Chairman of the London Olympics 2012 Bid Committee, emphasized that getting children to start sports young is fundamental to not only ensure that they are healthy, but to embed sports and physical activity as part of their lifestyle into adulthood.
Morne Fourie, General Manager of Marketing at Spinneys, discussed the brand’s investment into cycling in the region with their majority-stake purchase of and name title of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge. The decision to support cycling was an incremental and organic evolution for the brand and the sport locally. The brand is growing the sport and incidentally, the brand itself along with it. There is a drive to promote more cycling to potential enthusiasts and drive up participation in the coming events.
Mohammed Balooshi, a Red Bull athlete and the first Emirati to take part in the Dakar Rally, spent time talking with Chris McHardy this morning about his two-decade journey in motorcross, through the fountain of rejections and lack of support, to emerge victorious as the FIM World Champion in 2018. He explains that when coaching his young motorcross athletes, he encourages them to write down their goals, to be persistent and relentless in their pursuit of them and to believe that ‘what is meant for you won’t pass by you’.
We, as Corporate Sports, congratulate all the athletes that have sweated and bled through to their own personal triumphs, and may your successes continue. We also want to congratulate all the private and government sector entities who are constantly working to transform the region and to improve the lives of all that live here. We endeavor to contribute significantly to this pursuit.