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Sports ministers from Commonwealth countries will meet in London, United Kingdom, on the eve of the Olympic Games to discuss how sport can contribute to advancing development goals.

The half-day meeting, on 25 July, will draw attention to how Sport for Development and Peace can be used in efforts to address social and economic challenges and promote global public health.

Ministers will also review comprehensive policy recommendations developed by the Commonwealth to help governments, sports bodies, intergovernmental organisations and civil society organisations in strengthening sport-based interventions.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, who oversees the Commonwealth's work in this area, said: 'Sport is not only about competition and elite athletes. It is also not a universal remedy to development challenges, but under the right circumstances, it can convey important democratic principles such as tolerance, solidarity, co-operation and respect. It can also foster inclusion for marginalised people and support vulnerable people, including girls and women, people with a disability, those living in conflict and people recovering from trauma.

'The recommendations will support governments and sports bodies in member countries and position the Commonwealth as a leading site of progressive sport policy.”

Ministers will also discuss how to combat threats to the integrity of sport, including illegal sports betting and match fixing and review preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games, which take place in Glasgow, Scotland.

meanwhile, the South African government has wished the country's national team well in the forthcoming Olympics, calling on all South Africans to support the country's Olympians at the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games.

A team of 125 athletes (67 male and 58 female) departed to London later on Thursday, with their locally branded South African Airways Airbus 340-300 aeroplane, together with 46 officials serving in various wide-ranging categories in each sport code.

“Cabinet wishes our national teams well and calls on all South Africans to support Team South Africa during the 2012 London Olympic Games from 27 July to 12 August 2012, as well as our national cricket team (Proteas) who are touring England until 12 September 2012,” said Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi on Thursday.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma bid the Olympians farewell and encouraged the Olympians to bring home many medals for former President Nelson Mandela, who celebrated his 94th birthday on Wednesday.

The President also echoed and reiterated the target of 12 medals set for Team SA by the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), Gideon Sam.

“We want at least 12 medals, nothing less. Anything beyond 12 medals would be a bonus. If we win, it means Africa has won. We are a winning nation and I'm sure that you will win,” he said.