By SYDNEY MORWENG
Sport Industry Awards for 2011 are on, and red carpet will be laid in honour of sporting organizations and stakeholders alike at the Emperors Palace tomorrow evening.
The awards which are spearheaded by Virgin Active Sport recognize commercial achievements in the South African sport.
Launched in 2009 the awards will be the first of its kind to be hosted in on the South African soil due to rapidly evolving South African sports market to celebrate its business achievements, and solidifying its position as premier sport hub in the Continent, and it’s the first replication of the Awards beyond the UK.
It will reward the best South African sport business that over the past 12 months has been covering marketing, PR, sponsorship, media, advertising, and design.
Nick Keller, chairman of Sport Industry Group, the organizers of the event, said they’re excited for organizing such prestigious awards in South Africa.
“This follows hot on the heels the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and we promise the masses of this South Africa that we raise the bar in keeping with the spirit of Ubuntu in hosting the awards.” he said.
The press brief was graced by former Bafana Bafana legend Shaun Bartlett, who said the awards epitomizes the kind of quality this country hasin hosting major sporting events.
Posed to him what was his impression on the issue of ‘Bafana Bafana’ brand being considered for change, he said SAFA should have dealt with this from the onset.
“That’s an unfortunate incident to happen right now since the team is preparing for their AFCON encounter against Egypt next month, however, we hope this won’t affect their performance, “he said.
Another legend in attendance was Linford Christie, Olympic 100m Gold Medallist who simply uttered that this country is on the international map considering the hosting of the football spectacle last year.
“South Africa has indeed, made its mark in the sporting arena and the hosting of the awards will propel it to higher standards,” said the tall and muscled Christie who bore fashionable Afro.
Richard Hill, former England Rugby World Cup winner and Lions Legend said, South Africa has a lot to offer and the awards signifies that. Asked who will he be supporting during rugby 2011 WC in New Zealand in September, the legend gave a broad smile and diplomatically said, you know the answer.
Bob Yearham, chief operating officer at Peermont said theirs is to increase profile of the group.
Asked how he’d compare the standard of hospitality service in the country as opposed to international, he minced no words and said, South African hospitality has improved tremendously, and that it is on par with their competitors.
“The mere fact that we’re hosting this major event at one of our establishments is an indication of class and reputable service we pride ourselves at. This country has a lot to offer and as the group, we’re proud of that.”
Since its formation ten year’s ago in UK, it has honoured recipients such as David Beckham for his Outstanding Contribution to British Sport.
The awards will be broadcast live on SuperSport.