Waugh: Raising Money for Sport For Good is Worth a Little Pain

Australian cricket great Steve Waugh is about to set off on the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space. He’ll cross wildly varying terrain – and he’ll focus on the Laureus programmes that will benefit from the Challenge to keep him going
Steve Waugh knows that every blister, every muscle cramp will be worth it. The Australian cricket legend is taking part in the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space, a 100km trek through the desert landscapes, mountains and valleys of the United Arab Emirates. Any reservations he has about the physical and mental challenges which await him, however, are superseded by the power of the cause and the richness of shared experiences.
The 2019 Laureus Challenge in South Africa raised $250,000 for Laureus Sport for Good programmes around the world and Waugh will use that as motivation for completing the trek, which takes place between November 14-19 in co-operation with leading commercial space company Sierra Space. The four-day trek starts in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve before climbing into the Hatta Mountains and crossing the picturesque wadis (valleys) of the Sharjah Emirate.
“I can't say I've done a lot of trekking in the past,” said Waugh. “I do live near the beach, so I’ve been trying to get out there and have a trek in the sand. I enjoy walking but I must admit that when I took this on, I didn’t realise how challenging it was going to be.
“The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation support programmes in over 50 countries around the world. I’ve been to a number of them and I know that the money makes a difference to people’s lives. That’s really important when you’re walking for a charity – to know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. It’s a small token of pain for me to have a few blisters and sore muscles.”
Waugh will be joined by fellow Laureus World Sports Academy Members Chris Hoy, the British Olympic cycling champion, and South African rugby icon Bryan Habana. Nawal El Moutawakel, who made history in 1984 when she became the first Moroccan, African and Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal – in the 400m hurdles – will also participate, along with international adventurer and Laureus Ambassador Annabelle Bond.
Waugh is relishing the opportunity to spend time with fellow athletes and a team of inspirational fundraisers. “With Covid, we haven’t seen each other for the last three years,” he said. “Annabelle will do it easy because it’s right in her wheelhouse, being an explorer, mountaineer and adventurer. Bryan’s still pretty fit, so I think it won’t be too tough for him. Sir Chris Hoy has six gold medals on the track, so I think he’ll be OK and Nawal’s a runner, so I guess I’m the odd one out.
“We often only catch up once or twice a year. But this time we’re walking nine, 10 hours a day for four days and it’s a great opportunity to find out not only about each other’s careers, but a bit about our personal lives too.”
Waugh knows that sport has the power to change people’s lives – he witnessed it when visiting the subcontinent on cricketing tours during a career that ended with a place in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He said: “When you’re playing in India and Pakistan – places where often there’s conflict between the countries – then you see how playing cricket creates goodwill and sets a great example to people from those countries that you can live in peace and harmony. Sport is a great leveller, it allows people to get on in a friendly environment.”

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