The Director-General designates Hakuho as UNESCO Champion for Sport

The Director-General designates Hakuho as UNESCO Champion for Sport
  • © UNESCO

On 2 September 2008, Mr Davaajargal Munkhb, the Mongolian sumo wrestler known professionally as Hakuho, was designated UNESCO Champion for Sport by the Organisation’s Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, in recognition of his dedication to UNESCO’s values and ideals.

Hakuho has been supporting UNESCO’s activities for young people in East Asia since he was designated as UNESCO Artist for Peace in Ulaanbaatar in July 2006. Following Hakuho’s outstanding accomplishments as a grand sumo wrestler his title has been changed to UNESCO Champion for Sport.

Hakuho is the fourth non Japanese sumo wrestler in Sumo’s ancient history to reach the rank of Yokozuna, the highest rank in the sport, in May 2007. Since then, he won, with a perfect record, the sumo championship in July 2008. On 1 September 2008, the Mongolian sumo champion was also given the most prestigious Yokozuna East slot for 2008 Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament by the Japan Sumo Association.

Born on 11 March 1985 in Ulaabaatar, Mongolia, Hakuho comes from a family with Mongolian wrestling tradition. His father, Jigjid Munkhbat, won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1968 Summer Olympics and became the first Olympic medallist in Mongolia.

At the designation ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, the Director-General congratulated Hakuho for his achievements as Yokozuna and declared that he is convinced that a respected and renowned athlete such as Hakuho will greatly help UNESCO increase the visibility of its activities relating to physical education and sport. For his part, Hakuho said that he is very honoured to receive the title of UNESCO Champion for Sport as the first Asian athlete and will give his utmost effort to disseminate the Organization’s programme to promote peace through sport in East Asia, especially among children.

UNESCO Champions for Sport are truly outstanding sport personalities, such as Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, football legend Pelé and the former number one tennis player Justine Henin. This family of world-class athletes carries UNESCO's message the world over. By the same token, they reflect UNESCO's concern to promote the values of physical education and sports with a view to building a better future for younger generations.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 111-2008
  • 09-09-2008
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