On the 20th anniversary of Laureus World Sports Awards, World No.1 Novak Djokovic and World No.9 Serena Williams remembered the speech of former South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela.
On this day two decades ago, Mandela spoke his motivational speech in which he said, “Sport has the power to change the world”.
Talking about how sports can unite and inspire people for the best, Mandela said, “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”
Serena Williams, who was awarded the five-time Laureus Award said meeting Mandela at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards was a great experience. She also said that his views for her were a real changing point in her life.
“Being there in the crowd when Nelson Mandela was addressing us, was a really great experience. The words he said about sport, it doesn’t matter what colour you are, you can still be the best. What struck me most about Mr. Mandela was the fact that he knew everything about me, and I’m thinking ‘no, I know everything about you! We just had an incredible conversation about things we wanted to do in the world, and it was a real changing point in my life,” Williams said in a statement.
Novak Djokovic, also said his words motivated and inspires me and strengthen to come out and fight for right things.
“Nelson Mandela is one of those people that always brought the light. His strength to come out and fight for what is right is something that motivates and obviously inspires myself and every person on this planet.” Djokovic added.
However, Boris Beckar also expressed his feelings that shaking hands with Mandela was a very special moment for me.
“At the Laureus World Sports Awards 2000 in Monaco and a holiday in South Africa in 2007, I had the honour to meet Nelson Mandela. To shake hands with him was for me a very special moment. For us Laureus Academy Members it is an honour that a personality as he stood behind the idea of Laureus and supported us as Patron,” Becker, who is a Laureus Academy Member, said.
As the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the financial status of players. Earlier this month, Laureus Sport for Good launched the ‘Sport for Good Response Fund’ to support the Organisation using sports to change the lives of young people around the world.
Laureus Academy Member and Chairman of Laureus Sport for Good Edwin Moses, said: “We are living in uncertain and unprecedented times, and while we had hoped to be celebrating the growth of Laureus Sport for Good over the past two decades, we have instead shifted our focus. Through the Sport for Good Response Fund, we are continuing to support our programmes during this crisis, making sure they are ready to use respond to the challenges in their communities once it is safe to do so.”