Director-General designates Jamaican athlete Veronica Campbell Brown as UNESCO Champion for Sport

Director-General designates Jamaican athlete Veronica Campbell Brown as UNESCO Champion for Sport
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 13 October 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, designated Ms Veronica Campbell Brown as UNESCO Champion for Sport “in recognition of her advocacy for gender equity in sport and her dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization”.

The designation ceremony took place at the Organization’s Headquarters in Paris in the presence of Ms Olivia Grange, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture of Jamaica, Mr Davidson Hepburn, President of the 35th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, and several Ambassadors.

In his address at the designation ceremony, the Director-General paid tribute to Ms Campbell Brown’s prowess as an athlete, making particular reference to her performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she ran the 200 meters race in a mere 21.74, placing herself on the list of the eight fastest women ever for this particular distance. Mr Matsuura highlighted the important part played by Ms Campbell Brown as a role model for women and girls. “Young people, and especially girls, are inspired by your drive and determination, encouraged to achieve a healthy balance of body and mind and understand the need to respect rivals and fellow competitors. By promoting these sporting ideals and ethics, you also promote peace, tolerance and gender equality, and in so doing further UNESCO’s aims in Jamaica, the Caribbean and beyond”, he said.

Ms Olivia Grange also paid tribute to Ms Campbell Brown. “We are proud that the first woman from our region to be made a UNESCO Champion for Sport is from Jamaica. We look forward to watching and supporting [her] in this new role”, she said. Ms Grange also paid tribute to Mr Omar Brown, husband of Ms Campbell Brown and himself a Commonwealth Games record holder for the 200 meters race.

In responding, Ms Campbell Brown expressed her pride at being placed, by her designation, among a prestigious group of athletes such as Justine Henin, Michael Schumacher, Pelé and Jackie Silva. She announced her intention to use her new position to encourage girls to use sport as a tool for peace, development and gender equality. In particular, she said she would wish to contribute to efforts to ensure that female athletes are treated on an equal footing with male athletes, including for remuneration and sponsorship opportunities.

Ms Campbell Brown, born in Jamaica in 1982, first distinguished herself as an athlete when she began competing in international events at secondary school. She made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when she ran the 200 metre race in the fastest time in a decade. She became the second woman to win two consecutive Olympic 200 metre events. Other than winning the Olympic gold medal twice, she is also a six-time World Championship medallist.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 203-2009
  • 16-10-2009
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