Ukrainian boxers Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko to be named UNESCO Champions for SportThe Ukrainian boxers Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko will be nominated UNESCO Champions for Sport by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the Organization, on 4 December (5.30 p.m., 7th Floor). Ukraine’s First Lady, Kateryna Yushtchenko; Boris Zhbrovsky, First Deputy Minister for Communication and Science; karate champion Laurence Fischer and the boxer Mahyar Monshipour will attend the ceremony.
The designation of the Klitschko brothers is a tribute to their exceptional success in the sport of boxing, their long-term commitment on behalf of the marginalized, their exemplary efforts to promote and support UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need, and their valuable contribution to furthering the Organization’s ideals and objectives.
In August 2006, the Klitschko brothers travelled to Namibia with UNESCO experts to promote educational activities for children of the San community, who are among the most isolated and underprivileged in the north and west of the country. In 2004 and 2005, they lent active support to a UNESCO project in Romania. Beginning in 2002, they helped a project in Brazil. They have in addition created several foundations in Ukraine that benefit children and sport.
In 2004, Vitaliy Klitschko captured the World Boxing Council’s heavyweight championship. He retired at the end of 2005 with an impressive record: 43 victories and a mere three defeats. Wladimir Klitschko, became Olympic boxing champion in 1996 and is the present IBF heavyweight champion. He won the title from Chris Byrd last April, and successfully defended it against Calvin Brock on 11 November. On that occasion, he announced his intention to donate part of his winnings to UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need to fund projects in Namibia and in other parts of Africa. Wladimir Klitschko will present a cheque for US$ 285,000 to the Director-General during the 4 December ceremony.
The roster of UNESCO Champions for Sport includes Ukrainian pole-vaulter Serhiy Bubka, French judoka David Douillet, Russian hockey player Viatcheslav Fetisov and German Formula One racer Michael Schumacher. Brazilian football player Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, better known as King Pelé has been UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1994. These renowned athletes spread UNESCO’s message the world over. In this way, they focus media attention on UNESCO’s goal to promote the values of physical education and sport to build a better future for young people.