Twelve-year old Paulo Ricardo from the Laureus-supported project Fight for Peace (Luta pela Paz) in Rio de Janeiro was selected to participate in the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana Stadium.
Chosen for his commitment and dedication to boxing and educational activities at the academy and the positive impact he has had on his community in the Complexo da Mare favela, Paulo was one of a number of Cariocas who received the Olympic Cup on behalf of Rio de Janeiro from the International Olympic Committee on the main stage during the ceremony.
Paulo, who joined Fight for Peace in 2013, practices boxing at the academy as well as participating in personal development classes and educational support sessions where he gets extra help in the subjects he struggles with at school.
Being part of the project has had a huge positive impact of Paulo’s life bringing a new found confidence, improved school grades and a more positive attitude, helping him to become an inspiration and a role model for other academy members and his family who he is now much closer to.
“When I found out I would be representing Fight for Peace and the Cariocas in front of the world at the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony I couldn’t sleep with excitement. To be standing in front of so many people around the world was life changing, just like being part of Fight for Peace has been for me” said Paulo Ricardo.
Fight for Peace’s founder and former Laureus Sport for Good Award winner Luke Dowdney, said:
“We are so appreciative of the International Olympic Committee who have been supporting one of our projects focused on helping young and underprivileged people in Rio since 2014. Paulo Ricardo is a great student who has come so far on the programme – it is fantastic to see him representing Fight for Peace’s other academy members from Brazil and around the world.”
Fight for Peace began working in Maré as a direct response to youth involvement in drug-related crime and violence. FFP uses boxing and martial arts combined with education and personal development to help young people in Mare reach their potential.