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Introducing the Maradona Gibbons Osaka Awards

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The Maradona Gibbons Osaka Awards is a pilot coming out of grassroots efforts responding to challenges to our island’s social fabric over the past six months. This activism has involved a “Peace Tree” campaign and efforts to foster collaboration among sports clubs and other community stakeholders.

Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda
Noel Gibbons, a living legend of Bermuda cricket

Cup Match, the cricket festival celebrating the anniversary of emancipation, offers an opportunity for restoring community. That milestone was brought about by the abolition movement, a grassroots campaign involving Mary Prince and innumerable people of conscience from the global community, reflecting the best of character.

Diego Maradona, widely considered the best to ever play football

It is the quality of “concern for others” that we are inviting sports clubs to highlight as they select a nominee from their under-25 sporting population for the Maradona Gibbons Osaka Awards.

The late Diego Maradona, one of the best two players in the history of football, shared a special relationship with Pope Francis, his fellow Argentinian, based on the “beautiful game” and their mutual passion in championing the cause of the underprivileged.

Naomi Osaka, former world No 1 and four-times grand-slam tournament champion (Photograph by Christophe Ena/AP)

Noel Gibbons, one of Bermuda’s best all-round cricketers during Cup Match and abroad, demonstrated exemplary character in the 1980s, when refusing a lucrative offer to play in apartheid South Africa.

Naomi Osaka, the Haitian-Japanese four-times grand-slam tennis champion, insists on placing her personhood before her passion for tennis. She follows her conscience and demonstrates her generosity in solidarity with society’s marginalised.

The trajectory of our social history, with the implications of the legacy of the barriers of race, shapes our focus for this lift-off for the awards.

We recall that while emancipation was a breakthrough, it failed to provide meaningful restoration — and inequity was sustained. That said, that transformative shift was appreciated.

Six months after emancipation, Richard Tucker, president of the Young Man’s Friendly Society, demonstrated exemplary character in championing the liberation of 72 enslaved men, women and children from the US ship Enterprise. Tucker, formerly enslaved, is an example of the type of shoulders on which today’s generations stand.

While our society has moved from one dominated by cricket and maritime sport to one with 30-plus sporting bodies, the social reality means that in this initial effort, we will exercise a policy that may appear biased as we employ a restorative approach.

Please join this maiden voyage during this period of midsummer recreation and enjoy a read of the profiles of the nominees offered over the next two weeks.

Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda

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Published July 20, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated July 19, 2022 at 12:01 pm)

Introducing the Maradona Gibbons Osaka Awards

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