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Announcing the Beyond Sport Special Awards Shortlist

Hosted by ESPN Sport Science’s John Brenkus, our 10th annual Beyond Sport Global Awards ceremony will take place on September 12 at the stunning One World Observatory atop One World Trade. Today, we’re excited to share the individuals and organizations that have just been shortlisted to receive special awards on the evening through the generous support of WWE and Generation Amazing (the social legacy program of the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy).

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Awarded to individuals who have shown dedication and courage in using sport to improve their communities, our 2018 shortlisters have stood up against injustice and discrimination – often at great personal risk.  

“WWE has seen first-hand the power sport has to change the world, and we are proud to partner with Beyond Sport to shine a spotlight on the individuals who are a driving force behind social change,” said Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer.  


Keke Lehana - Coach, training4changeS

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The extreme difficulties and trauma that Keke faced at a young age helped forge him into the role model he has become today.

Keke is passionate about serving vulnerable children and youth and uses his love of sport to serve his community through training4changeS and multiple youth soccer teams. He has an unprecedented ability to connect with his players, and uses his role as a coach to mentor and support young people in sport, education and the intricacies of life in South African townships. Keke is a real life hero to many, showing that sport can help one rise above hardship and help achieve your dreams. He has been recognized by the Mayor of Stellenbosch for his outstanding youth leadership in the Stellenbosch community and was invited to take part in a FIFA Futsal Coaching Course.

Michaylah Petersen- Coach & Mentor, Waves for Change

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Michaylah was thrown out of her home by her parents at the age of 15 because of her sexuality and spent the rest of her teens in a care home for young girls where she suffered from deep depression.

After getting involved in sports, her mental wellbeing greatly improved and even more so when she was introduced to Waves For Change – an organization which uses surfing and skating as a therapy to help young people who have experienced trauma. She soon became comfortable in her own identity and empowered to help other young people who had experienced similar adversity. Now, Michaylah is now known throughout the community as the girl with the longboard. She is one of Waves’ most inspiring and enthusiastic coaches and is so passionate about female empowerment that she created her own longboarding program which is inspiring young girls to skateboard.

Cam Beecy, Youth Ambassador, Positive Tracks

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Service is a core value to Cam, and from a young age, he has been using the power of sweat to educate and make change. A rising Senior at Norwich University, where he holds an Air Force ROTC Scholarship, Cam’s goal is to let young people know that they can make a difference in other people's lives.

He first partnered with Positive Tracks in high school with the goal of mobilizing his peers to join the effort to eradicate AIDS and to better understand stigma around getting tested for HIV. He coaches youth hockey teams and has led on numerous cause-driven sporting events, believing that sport is an “awesome catalyst for change because it allows all people from different backgrounds to speak the same language of movement - a language that everyone can understand.” In addition to youth mentorship, he provides Positive Tracks with critical guidance related to program development and strategic growth.

Chloe Rothman, InCountry Program Director, Shooting Touch

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Chloe is a former collegiate and professional basketball player. Since arriving in Rwanda in 2015, she has made it her goal to help others through sport. 

In a country with extreme poverty and limited opportunity and resources, she is responsible for all international partnerships, roles and corporate responsibilities, managing 800 kids, 350 women and 13 employees. From afternoon basketball practices to gender equity classes to visiting a child in the hospital, Chloe’s energy and enthusiasm are perfectly matched with her unwavering patience. She is a passionate leader who believes her purpose in this life is to help others in need. Chloe has acquired a deep understanding of what sport can do for an individual, and more so, what it can do for entire communities.

Tith “Nara” Sovannara, Coach, Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF)

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Nara grew up in the notorious Phnom Penh, Cambodia slum of Boueng Kak. He received little education and faced a bleak future until his life was changed by his passion for football.

Now, Nara’s life’s mission is to “pay it back” and bring football to children living in extreme poverty in rural Cambodian communities. In addition to his work with ISF and other NGOs, he founded the grassroots NGO “Play To Progress” in 2018. His program has travelled to six rural locations where sports is used to engage kids and give them the tools to overcome social problems such as drugs, crime and unemployment. Nara believes that sport helped him avoid a life of drugs and gangs unlike so many of those he grew up with. He hopes that the kids he works with see themselves in him and view sports as a way out and forward.


New this year will be an award for the organization that is best using sport to help alleviate the trauma of people displaced by the refugee crisis.

“We are pleased to be supporting the new Sport for Refugees Award this year, which recognizes the outstanding work being done by organizations from different parts of the world to address one of the most pressing social issues of our time. Through Generation Amazing we are using the power of sport to build a lasting social legacy for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, our region, and across the world. We will continue with our football for development work to make a tangible impact on the lives of a million young people by 2022,” said Mushtaq Al-Waeli, Senior Advisor to the Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy 


12 years of FUn! by the University of New South Wales and Football United

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Since 2006, Sydney's Football United (FUn) has created chances for thousands of children and youth through the magic of football, utilizing sport as a positive actor for social change. FUn was created with the goal of supporting refugee and newly arrived youth and their families in their transition into Australian society; the vision has evolved to become a program which combines a number of effective mechanisms for engaging and reengaging young people with refugee experiences and disadvantaged youth into their communities, fostering their educational engagement and promoting cross cultural harmony using the power of football.

Connecting Refugee and Local Jordanian Women Through Sport by Reclaim Childhood

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More than 2.7 million refugees from more than eight war-torn countries compete with their Jordanian neighbors for space, jobs and water in one of the most resource-poor countries in the world.The resulting tensions pit Jordanians against refugees, and refugee groups against each other. Reclaim Childhood brings refugee and Jordanian girls together on the playing field by training Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Palestinian, Somali, Egyptian and local Jordanian coaches to lead their own sports teams and work together towards community resilience. At practice, girls develop healthy habits and discuss shared challenges, including racism, marriage and resource scarcity showing that together refugees and Jordanians may pursue a common future.

Women on the Move Uganda: Using sport against trauma and for better livelihoods by the Swiss Academy for Development

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Those living in refugee camps often suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which can result in domestic violence, alcoholism or suicidal tendencies. The Swiss Academy for Development (SAD) applies its trauma-informed approach based on sport and play to improve refugees’ well-being in camps across Uganda. They use sport and play sessions that allow participants to get together in a safe space where they can feel comfortable and relax. The project uses sport and counselling to improve participants’ physical and mental health, support trauma recovery, rebuild their resilience, foster social cohesion and recreate a sense of community.

Congratulations and good luck to our newest shortlisters! 

The Beyond Sport Foundation is set to award more than $350,000 to projects that are using sport to help make the UN Sustainable Development Goals a reality. We are also grateful to:

Purpose-driven application software leader SAP, a strong advocate for purpose and digital literacy, that is supporting our Sport for Quality Education and Employment Award. The winner in this category will be chosen from the following inspiring projects:        

  • Training for a Marathon, Training for Life - Students Run America USA 
  • Women Economic Empowerment Through Sport Tourism - 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Nepal 
  • Open Doors to Inclusion - Rodrigo Mendes Institute Brazil

Tech giant, Xiaomi, who will deliver two special community recognition grants to members of the official shortlist who best demonstrate the ideals of innovation and inclusion, following its support of the Beyond Sport Foundation with this summer’s #RaiseTheCup campaign.

Attended by sports celebrities, business leaders and development visionaries, the Beyond Sport Global Awards are made possible by Official SupportersComic Relief, ESPN, Chivas Regal, Swedish Postcode Foundation and Xiaomi, Category Partners, WWE, Generation Amazing and SAP and Host Partner, Legends. Business support packages are provided by Upshot, GivenGain, YouTube, TrustLaw, and the George Washington University Sport Philanthropy Certificate Program

We hope to see you there!



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