Back from Birmingham...

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We've just got back from our latest sporting event: the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, where reporter and Africa Development Manager Norman Brierley recorded interviews with over 20 athletes, coaches and officials of which at least nine featured some degree of Christian witness or testimony. These will feature on our programme Planet Sport this week and the weeks ahead, so make sure you tune in and check them out!

Please join us in praying for Norman as he returns home for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Pray also for the impact of the testimony interviews in the minds and lives of our Planet Sport listeners and that in some small way God will use these to build Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

Our next big assignment is a trip to the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games. Tom Ellis and Liam Flint will flying from the UK to Brisbane in just under a month, and will be gathering and producing content from the games for our audience of sports fans across the world!

Introducing sports fans to Jesus

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Over the next couple of months, we'll be reporting and gathering content from two international sporting competitions. Please pray for these projects, for the logistics, funding, access and interviews, as we carry out our mission of introducing sports fans from across the world to Jesus Christ.

World Indoor Athletics, Birmingham, 1-4 March


Over 400 athletes from 150 countries will be competing at this global event in Birmingham at the beginning of March.  Passion for Sport will be there too with Norman Brierley (left) reporting for our Planet Sport radio programme. Give thanks that Norman has received his media accreditation and pray that he will have opportunities to record quality interviews with Christian sportsmen and women to challenge and encourage our listeners about the joy of following Jesus.

Commonwealth Games, Australia, 4-15 April

On 29 March media producers Liam Flint and Tom Ellis head to Gold Coast, Australia to report from the Commonwealth Games for our radio, online and social media followers. Passion for Sport has reported from each of the last five editions of the Games going back to Manchester in 2002. Over 6,600 athletes from 70 Commonwealth nations will be competing at the Games. Give thanks for the Christian family that has generously offered accommodation and pray that Liam and Tom will be guided to athletes with a strong passion for Jesus willing to share their stories with our listeners and online followers.

Scott Sio on family and faith

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26-year-old Scott Sio (above centre with ball) has a fine rugby heritage. His father, David, played in the 1991 Rugby World Cup for Samoa but Scott is a proud Australian having been born and raised in Sydney. Loosehead prop Scott plays his club rugby for the Brumbies in Super Rugby. In 2013 he made his debut for the Wallabies and since then has played 43 times for Australia including the 2015 Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand. Scott talks to us about his rugby career and the importance of his family and faith as a follower of Jesus Christ both on and off the field.

Listen to the interview here:

Ristananna Tracey: "Without God we can do nothing"

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Read our track & faith interview with Jamaican Hurdler, Ristananna Tracey. After a bronze medal at the World Champs, we caught up with her at the Birmingham Diamond League meet:

You are part of a really talented generation of Jamaican track athletes, how do you keep producing high quality performers?

"I think our facilities can be better so we work with whatever we have, we work extremely hard and we train extremely hard. I think that is what leads to our success."

You actually started out with the high jump, how did you then find the hurdles?

"I was doing high jump and my high school coach came to me and he said 'oh we have this tall girl and she is just wasting her talent over here' because I wasn't doing that well. He asked me, why not try the 800 metres? So from there I started training for the 880 metres and I started competing. Each time I competed I realised that my times were going down and they kept on improving. At that time I decided to try the 400 metre hurdles and did well at the event, from there people saw that I had potential and I just continued to do it."

What are the keys to becoming a world-class hurdler?

"Most definitely, I think the 400m hurdles is one of the hardest track events, you need to have endurance and I solely depend on it in most of my races. I'm not as fast as the other girls, their flat 400 races are faster than mine and so I think strength, endurance and technically is a big part of it."

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Off the track your faith in Jesus is important to you, does it impact your athletics?

"Most definitely, I mean without God we can do nothing. I believe that with him everything is possible. All the glory goes to him."

And what difference does knowing God make to your life?

"I put all my believe in him, I put all my trust in him so when I am going out to race, my mum always told me not to be afraid to go down on my knees and pray. I do exactly that before my races, ensuring that I pray before I go out to race and when I pray I realise that I am achieving whatever I am asking for. That then makes me believe in Him more."

How much does your faith help you in difficult times?

"Injuries do come and sometimes you feel like giving up but I always have people around me, telling me that better days are coming. I pray about it and believe."

Coming Soon: Passion for Sport AGM

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We extend a very warm invitation to join us at our Annual General Meeting on Saturday 27 January. This will be held from 1.30-3.00pm at Findon Valley Free Church, Lime Tree Avenue, Worthing, BN14 0DJ.

Come along and join us to give thanks to God for the past year, and to find out about our plans for the future. This is a great opportunity to meet the Board and staff members, and join us to pray for the ministry.

Board members Paul Aylett (Chair), Stuart Dearsley (Treasurer), Gabriel Ajala, Chris Lawther and Luke Hamilton will be there to share our vision and answer questions along with staff members Adrian Barnard, Norman Brierley, Pete Ellis and Liam Flint.

We very much hope you will be able to come and look forward to meeting you there!

CHAN 2018 kicks off in Morocco


On this week's Planet Sport Football Africa we focus on the 2018 African Nations Championship, the CHAN, which has just kicked off in Morocco. It's a wide-open tournament, and Cameroon are hoping to do well. We speak to their coach, Indomitable Lions legend Rigobert Song.

Also we go back to last week's CAF awards, where Liverpool and Egypt's Mohamed Salah took the 2017 African Footballer of the Year title. Stuart has a profile of Salah.

Listen to the show here: 

Behind the stumps with Proteas wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle


We caught up with South African wicket-keeper batsman, Mangaliso Mosehle as he continues to push his way into the Proteas plans, after making his international Twenty20 debut in the last year!

The 27-year-old has always been on the national side's radar and has come up through the ranks, playing for the South Africa U19s and going to the World Cup. We spoke to Mosehle about how his faith in Christ impacts his outlook on the game and how he plays it. 

Check out the full interview with Planet Sport below:

The power of sport with Tianna & Tiffany


On our latest Planet Sport programme we catch up with reigning Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta (above) from the USA to find out how she first got into the sport and what she is doing today to encourage and inspire a new generation of young athletes. We also talk to British 100 metres hurdler and 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Tiffany Porter about her sport, ambition and faith.

Listen to the interviews below:

Nijel Amos: Botswana could dominate world athletics


At the London Games in 2012 Nijel Amos won Botswana's first ever Olympic medal when he won silver in the 800 metres. In August he came 5th in his event at the World Championships in London. Nijel told Planet Sport's Tom Ellis what it meant to win his country's first Olympic medals and about his faith and hopes for the future. 

Meanwhile, 400 metres runner Baboloki Thebe has his sights set on winning Botswana's second Olympic medal in Tokyo in 2020. At the age of just 20 he is already the African Champion and he came 4th in 400m final at this year's World Championships. He talks to us about his faith, his hopes and dreams and his love for running.

Listen to both interviews here:

'Inspire before you expire!'


Stanley Kebenei, representing the USA, came 5th in the 3000m steeplechase at this year's World Athletics Championships in London. On our latest Planet Sport programme, Stanley tells us about his love for the sport and about the qualities needed to become a top steeplechaser. Unlike the USA, Ghana has never won a gold medal at the Olympics. Emmanuel Dasor is a 200m and 400m runner who is aiming to break that duck. He talks about his hopes and dreams and the faith that directs his life.

Listen to the latest Planet Sport, featuring interviews with Stanley Kebenei and Emmanuel Dasor here: 

JP Duminy: 'God looks at my heart, not my performance'

JP Duminy, is an icon of South African cricket, a man who has played 46 test matches, 177 ODIs to date and 71 international T20s. He's still going, and after recently hanging up his test boots, the 33-year-old is now fully focusing on the shorter format of the game.

The all-rounder spoke to us in a Planet Sport exclusive about his journey with the Proteas, including where he likes to tour most, which young stars we need to be watching out for and how his faith in Jesus trumps anything he's ever achieved in cricket. 

Listen to the full interview below:




Quanera Hayes: 'Don't let your light diminish'

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USA 400m runner Quanera Hayes won gold as part of the USA's women's 4 x 400m relay team at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London. Hayes had posted the fastest 400m time in the world this season, clocking 49.72 seconds at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, earlier this year. The 25 year old spoke to us about her sport and strong faith in Jesus during the World Athletics Championships in August. 

Listen to the interview here: 

Ruswahl Samaai: 'I see myself as an Olympic champion, God-willing'

After the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, we sat down with South African Long Jumper, Ruswahl Samaai to reflect on his Bronze medal at the Champs. We also discuss why South Africa are producing so many quality athletes in the sand!

A talented sportsman growing up, the 26-year-old had options . . ."At first I was a Triple Jumper in high school. I ended up doing Long Jump in 2012. The training for long and triple jump is exactly the same so we made a switch. From then on, right up until today I’ve now just focused on my long jump, so back in the day, I was another Christian Taylor!" 


Samaai is part of an elite group of South African long jumpers who are constantly pushing the boundaries of the event, he regularly competes with the likes of Luvo Manyonga, who won Gold at the World Championships, Khotso Mokoena and Zarck Visser, When asked about his recent bronze and the relationship between the rivals, he put it like this:

"I headed to London for the win, unfortunately that didn't happen. Whenever I see Luvo, Zarck or Khotso at a meet my mind starts getting into beast mode. So it’s awesome, we all strive to be better as long jumpers and we all have a hunger to be the best in our country. When I am home I am not competing against any guys, I am competing against the best in the world at every single meet. That builds character."

His competitiveness and drive to be the best is a stand-out attribute to his success, he did however point out another factor in his life that he believes will see him become Olympic champion:

"Faith plays a huge role in my life, let me take you back to the Olympics last year in Rio, I was one of the favourites to win an Olympic medal, I got injured two days before the competition and that completely threw me off. That was not my plan, I wanted to be the best that I could be and execute my plan, I was mentally frustrated and angry at God. It took me a while to trust him fully again, I asked why did you bring me so far and then fail me? It doesn’t make sense. At times I was so angry but after trusting him again everything starting changing and falling back into place."


"It came down to be believing in him and knowing that his plan for my life has already been mapped out, the only thing is to get me to fulfilment. After that, I fully committed myself to him and whatever happens this year I have faith on and off the track. It changed my life as a sportsperson and as a person. We have to believe that he has a plan for us and give everything into his hands. I see myself as an Olympic champion if it’s God’s will, I see myself as a world record holder, all of those things are possible."

Ruswahl ended with one piece of advice for aspiring long jumpers:

"All I can say to the young long jumpers out there is to have faith, don’t let the circumstances fool you, God has a plan for your life."

Okagbare counts her Blessings


Blessing Okagbare has been winning national, African and international titles since she was 17. Previously referred to as 'Africa's fastest woman', the Nigerian track and field athlete is equally comfortable in the 100 and 200 metre sprints and the long jump. Today, she has an Olympic medal from Beijing in 2008 and is still a major force in world athletics. At the recent World Athletics Championships in London she told us how she first got into the sport, explaining how her strong faith has taught her to be grateful and how it helped her through the tough challenges as well as the joys that come with the sport.

Listen to the interview here: