Director-General designates Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko UNESCO Champions of Sport

Director-General designates Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko  UNESCO Champions of Sport
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 4 December, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director-General of UNESCO, designated the world-class boxers Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko as UNESCO Champions of Sports in the presence of Mrs Yushchenko, the First Lady of Ukraine.

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.

During the ceremony, Mr Matsuura detailed the humanitarian activities that the Klitschko brothers have undertaken over the years. Firstly the International Sport Fund, “Sport - 21st Century,” which serves to foster confidence and hope among young people through physical education and sport. Secondly, the creation of the “Klitschko Brothers Foundation” in 2003, which is active in fighting drug abuse, HIV and AIDS, and homelessness. “The Klitschko brothers also cooperate closely with Mrs Ohoven, UNESCO Special Ambassador for the Education of Children in Need. Together they have visited and supported numerous projects in the Ukraine, Germany, Romania, Brazil and Namibia,” he said.

Wladimir Klitschko 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. Mr Klitschko presented a check for US$ 285,000 to the Director-General of UNESCO during the ceremony.

Mr Matsuura encouraged the Klitschko brothers to take up the anti-doping campaign and, as UNESCO champions of sports, “continue to set an inspiring example to young people – teaching them to understand the meaning of fair play; to achieve healthy balance of body and mind; to enjoy victory and accept defeat; and to respect fellow competitors. These values are the basis of a peaceful, tolerant and prosperous society.”

During the meeting with the First Lady of Ukraine and the Klitschko brothers past and future projects were discussed. For their part Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko underscored the projects they intend to support. The First Lady then thanked the Director-General once more for his visit to the Ukraine on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl. She also highlighted her project of building a state of the art hospital entirely dedicated to children, and the important role that the ARTEK International Recreation Centre for Children could play in Ukraine.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 195-2006
  • 07-12-2006
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