Discover the TAFISA Awards 2023 Winners!


Discover the TAFISA Awards 2023 Winners!

03 November 2023

On the evening of 2 November, participants of the 28th TAFISA World Congress joined the TAFISA Awards ceremony and acclaimed the global Sport for All Movement's leaders and trailblazers.

The Ceremony started off with TAFISA 's most prestigious award, the Jürgen Palm Award, named after TAFISA's late founding father. It is handed to selected individuals who have made a significant and long-term contribution to the field of International Sport for All and physical activity. The Awardees' achievements were highlighted by the recipients. Jürgen Palm Awards were presented to:

Frank Busemann, Germany:

Hurdles Junior World Champion 1994 and Decathlon Vice Olympic Champion 1996, Frank Busemann is a motivation in sports coach and inspiring public speaker, as well as a co-presented of major sport events on German TV. He uses his experiences as a former professional athlete to translate that into everyday life working as a speaker on the topic of motivation and mental stability in sports. He has a longstanding track record in supporting Sport for All, including among other positions: supporter and ambassador of Special Olympics, ambassador for Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe (German Sport Aid Foundation), ambassador for Initiative Respekt! Kein Platz für Rassimus (Respect! No room for racism), engagement in several sport for all foundations, athletic director of the German Centre for preventive medecin, Supporter of the German Sports Badge Tour, ambassador for “Sterne des Sports” (german sports club award for social inclusion projects).

Oliver Percovich, Founder and Executive Director, Skateistan, Australia: 

Oliver Percovich first skateboarded in an empty pool at the age of six while growing up in Papua New Guinea. In 2007 Oliver moved to Afghanistan from Australia. Looking to explore, he would skate the city, and street-working kids would follow him around and ask to try. In 2008, Oliver founded Skateistan, a grassroots 'multi award winning "Sport for Development' organisation on the streets of Kabul which now also includes a network of over 750 social skateboard projects in over 100 countries.

(source: Skateistan website:

Malcolm Freake OAM, Founding CEO, Bluearth, Australia:

Malcolm Freake OAM is the CEO of the Bluearth Foundation. It is with the vision to alter the impact of sedentary living on young Australians that he founded Bluearth back in 2000. Malcolm’s unwavering passion for active living equipped him for enduring success. He believes his active lifestyle has given him; confidence, resilience, determination, self-awareness and general good health. Bluearth Foundation evolved from the belief that this simple philosophy – to promote and educate every Australian about the joy of movement – could change lives. Following the sale of the computer software company HUON, Malcolm was free to embark on a mission to instill a lifelong love of movement in children across the country. Malcolm understands the greatest long-term benefit to any individual’s health can be achieved by influencing their critical habits, attitudes and behaviours at an early stage. That’s why Bluearth focuses its efforts on working with schools to bring positive active experiences to children. Malcolm brought together experts in the fields of Human Movement, Education, Psychology, Elite Sport and Health to develop an evidence-based program that could be delivered in schools to help all kids move more, and live better. In a very short time, the results of the Bluearth program demonstrated significant health, social and behavioural benefits to school children, and the foundation became a national entity in 2005. Today, Malcolm continues to be a passionate advocate for active living and believes that it is every child’s right to be taught the fundamentals of movement, so they have the opportunity to enjoy moving intrinsically every day.

(source: Bluearth website:


The ceremony continued with the Anita Ghosh Award, presented to women who have done an outstanding contribution towards the empowerment of women and girls in Sport for All in challenging environments. This year the Award was received by Khalida Popal, Founder, Girl Power Organisation, Afghanistan

As the former Captain of the Afghan National Women's Football Team, she broke down barriers and defied societal norms to inspire countless young women to pursue their dreams, both on and off the field. Her leadership, both in sports and in advocating for women's rights, has been a source of inspiration not only in Afghanistan but around the world. In addition to her remarkable sports career, Khalida Popal founded the Girl Power Organization, a beacon of hope for countless girls and women in Afghanistan. Through this organization, she has tirelessly worked to provide education, opportunities, and support to those who need it most, championing the cause of girls' education and women's empowerment. She is also the Program and Event Director of the Afghanistan Women's National Football Team, Ambassador to Street Child World Cup, and the Event Manager & Mentor/ Refugee Consultant in COLUM. Khalida Popal's journey embodies the essence of courage, determination, and a deep-seated commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan. Her work has not only been a source of inspiration but a catalyst for change, bringing hope and empowerment to countless individuals.

Oliver Percovich, Khalida Popal, Malcolm Freake OAM, and Franck Busemann with their awards.
Oliver Percovich, Khalida Popal, Malcolm Freake OAM, and Franck Busemann with their awards.  © Gonzalo Bell


The event proceeded with the Friend for Life Award, which is handed to special individuals who have made TAFISA and the Global Sport for All Movement stronger through their contribution and hard work over the years. This year, the Friend for Life Award recipients were:

  • Wendy Gillett, Bluearth, Australia
  • Yolande Bikè, Association Nationale du Sport Pour Tous, Gabon
  • Stanley Mutoya, AUSC Region 5, Zimbabwe
  • Martin Wonik, Land Sport Federation North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Bernhard Schwank, State Chancellery North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Michaela Rohrbein, German Olympic Sports Confederation, Germany
  • Prof. Paul G. Hoglund, Sweden (posthumous)


The TAFISA Awards 2023 Awardees
The TAFISA Awards 2023 Awardees.  © Gonzalo Bell


To conclude the evening, The Mission 2030 Awards acknowledged the work done by organisations to advance the Sport for All Movement across four sectors: Academia, Media, Policy, and Private sector. The following awards were granted:

  • Mission 2030 Academic Award: University of Limerick, Ireland
  • Mission 2030 Policy Award: Mauritius Sports Council, Mauritius
  • Mission 2030 Media Award: Knowledge Center for Sport and Physical Activity Netherlands, Netherlands
  • Mission 2030 Private sector Award: TIBU Africa, Morocco

To learn more about TAFISA Awards, visit: