The British Olympic Association (BOA) has chosen Laureus-supported project Fight for Peace as one of its charity partners for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Through its focus on boxing and martial arts, the project aims to engage at-risk young people within the community and offers real alternatives to crime and violence. With academies in London and Rio de Janeiro, the project is open to boys and girls between the ages of 12–21, with the target of integrating young people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Native of Brazil, Laureus Academy Member and Formula 1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi visited Fight for Peace and was impressed with the work it does within the crime-ridden communities: “In communities where macho behaviour is important for young people, boxing has a built-in appeal. The idea is that young people taking part will not feel they need to have a gun to get respect. Supported by Laureus, the project has become a safe haven in the middle of a nightmare of drug trafficking and violence.”
The British Olympic Association will work with Fight for Peace to facilitate visits from Team GB athletes and training workshops for coaches at the Fight for Peace academies in London and Rio de Janeiro. In addition, Fight for Peace will support the British Olympic Association’s marketing campaign in the run up to Rio 2016 as they begin to build support for Team GB in the UK and in Rio.
The announcement was made following a sport performance workshop in Rio de Janeiro with Matt Holt (British Amateur Boxing Association) and Gary Henderson (British Judo) which was also attended by Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Association.
During the session at Fight for Peace, Bill Sweeney, said: “The BOA and Fight for Peace share a core belief – that sport can transform lives. This partnership will enable us to share expertise and resources, helping Fight for Peace to continue their great work and helping us to have a presence and voice in Rio as we prepare for the Games. We are looking forward to working with Luke and his team to ensure that Team GB has a positive impact in Rio and Brazil in the run up to, during and after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Luke Dowdney MBE, Founder of Fight for Peace, added: “It is an honour and pleasure to be working with the British Olympic Association. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to have access to the expertise and talent within the organisation and we are really excited about the opportunities ahead. We believe that this partnership will add real value to the work that we already do at Fight for Peace as it will help to drive awareness of the charity and also help to improve our sport performance programme which plays a vital part in attracting young people to our Academies and away from an alternative life of crime and violence."