August 13, 2012
Launched at the time of London's bid, International Inspiration is an Olympic initiative designed to create a lasting legacy of the 2012 Games. Aiming to engage young people in sport, as well as providing mentoring support, life skills and education, the project was developed from London 2012's bid promise to reach and enrich the lives of up to 12 million children in 20 countries through sport.
Last year, Laureus teamed up with International Inspiration on a project in Tanzania, where social problems include a tragically high rate of youth mortality due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as a high school drop out rate, often after as little as five years of education leaving many people in a hard to break cycle of poor employment prospects and low income.
With sport once again becoming a focus in Tanzanian schools, and the government re-introducing PE as a subject with the launch of a national sport strategy, it was a great time for International Inspiration and Laureus to work together with local communities to put in place a programme that will train teachers, provide facilities and resources for sport in schools as well as improve leadership, coaching and administration in sports governing bodies and clubs.
The project was visited by Laureus Ambassador Oscar Pistorius, the “Blade Runner”, who has broken new ground in Olympic history by becoming the first double amputee athlete to qualify for the able-bodied Games, as well as being the first amputee to win a non-disabled World Championship track medal, as a member of the South African silver medal winning 4 x 400 metres relay team.
Born with a congenital absence of the fibula, Pistorius' legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old and he runs with the aid of carbon fibre blades that have propelled him into the sporting history books.
Pistorius' visit took place at the stadium in Arusha and featured exhibitions of International Inspiration activities in Tanzania, which include athletics for young people, women’s football and volleyball competitions .
Led by instructors who have benefited from Laureus-supported training programmes, the sessions were followed by a motivational talk from Pistorius to the young people present.
“Sport can make a difference to everyone’s lives at all levels,“ he says. “It can give purpose and direction. It certainly did for me when I found myself in challenging circumstances and I am sure it can be of massive benefit to young people in Tanzania.”
With Pistorius hoping to achieve great things at this year's 2012 games, and continuing his work with Laureus' Sport For Good Foundation, he will, no doubt, continue to be an international inspiration to young people everywhere, both on the track and in the field.