‘Home isn’t always where the heart is’: Exploring the expanding eligibility options of amateur athletes at non-elite sports event.
Globalisation has not only altered the cultural values and historical reference points that once framed local and national identities, but also affected the manner in which elite and non-elite sporting communities now communicate, compare and compete with each other. While there is still no place like home, an athlete’s ‘home’ is not always where their heart is. Despite an increased awareness/acceptance of established athletes moving back and forth, around the world, in search of fashionable sporting competitions and financially attractive professional contracts, the impact that these typically temporary cross-border migrations are having on those competing in non-elite contests has been largely overlooked. This paper compares the pre-event expectations, event experiences and post-event evaluations of ten athletes at varying stages of their professional sporting career. The international eligibility of amateur and elite players was a major theme to emerge from the discourse, highlighting some serious concerns regarding the long-term sustainability of allowing athletes to change/choose/challenge their national identity in order to advance their sport event opportunities and overall career earnings.
Dr Richard Keith Wright is a lecturer in Sports & Recreation Management, specialising in facilities and events-related subjects at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Prior to joining AUT in February 2012, he spent two years at Leeds Metropolitan University’s the UK Centre for Events Management and five years within the Department of Tourism at the University of Otago. His research activity and interests focus on the sustainable management and strategic marketing of sports resources (natural and man-made), and the cultural consumption and commercial production of all sports-related event activity.
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