Laureus Sport for Good to expand in Russia

November 1, 2013
Boris Becker has hailed last night’s gala fundraising dinner for Laureus in Moscow a “great start to the Olympic year.”
Becker was at the event supporting fellow Academy Member Alexey Nemov, one of the world’s greatest gymnasts, now Editor-In-Chief of Bolshoi Sports magazine, as he hosted a highly successful gala reception in Moscow to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation charity in Russia.
Also at the Vetoshny Art Centre in Moscow was Laureus Academy Member Sean Fitzpatrick, who captained the famous New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, and Laureus Ambassadors Angelika Timanina, Daria Korobova and Elvira Khasyanova, three of Russia’s greatest synchronised swimmers as Laureus announced its commitment to implement more charitable projects in Russia.
The funds raised from the event will be used to expand the work of Laureus in Russia, as the country moves into an Olympic year with the Winter Games beginning in Sochi in February 2014.
Tennis legend Boris Becker, in his welcome address, said: “I support the desire of my Russian colleagues to make sport as accessible as possible for all people. I am sure this event will truly kick-start the development of grass roots sports in Russia.”

Other guests present included Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov,  Olympic figure skating champion Tatiana Navka, nine-times Olympic champion in gymnastics Larisa Latynina, World boxing champion Natalia Ragozina and President of the Russian Golf Federation Andrei Vdovin. They all received gifts on behalf of Bolshoi Sport magazine.

“We all need this kind of events that combine sporting and social dimensions. I hope that together we will be able to make sport more popular in our country, make it fashionable and help to shape the image of the world-class athlete as a role model for the younger generation”, said President of Russia’s Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov.
During the ceremony, awards were presented to the heads of companies who helped to organise the event and have  made a significant contribution to sport. This included Director General of Mercedes-Benz Rus CJSC Jan Madeja, Deputy Chairman of the Board at Allianz Artashes Sivkov, Director General of the Metropol Hotel Dominique Godat, President of Promsvyazbank Artem Konstandyan and Director General of Donstroi Alena Deryabina.
“The patron of the Laureus Initiative Nelson Mandela said during the first Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” This is precisely why we support Laureus. And we are very happy that we are able to make our own contribution to the development of these initiatives in support of sports,” emphasised Jan Madeja, Director General of Mercedes-Benz Rus CJSC.

Earlier in the day many guests who later attended the gala reception had taken part in a visit to the Special Olympics project in Moscow - the first project to be supported by Laureus in Russia.
The mission of Special Olympics Russia is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through this, physical fitness is promoted whilst the participant can share their talents with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community at large.
Unified Sports is an initiative that combines players with and without intellectual disabilities on the same teams for training and competition. This initiative has been shown to contribute significantly to breaking down barriers between people with and without intellectual disability, both on and off the playing field.  
Special Olympics Russia has local sub-programmes in 62 regions of the Russian Federation, with over 110,000 athletes regularly training and competing on all levels – school, city, region, national, international.
In remarks at the gala reception Alexey Nemov said: “As the initiator and main organiser of the Friends of Bolshoi Sports event, which we host in partnership with the global movement Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, my goal is to galvanise Russian charitable initiatives around sports.”

The reception was attended by a number of Russian sports superstars including Alexander Karelin, Maria Kiselyova, Stanislava Komarova, Vladimir Salnikov, Alia Mustafina, Anastasia Davydova, Uliana Donskova, Natalia Nazarova, Anastasia Ermakova, Anfisa Reztsova, Tatyana Lysenko, Ksenia Afanasieva, Emil Garipov, Anastasia Nazarenko, Elena Zamolodchikova, Alla Shishkina, Tatyana Firova, Alexandra Patskevich and other fellow athletes and friends of Alexei Nemov. The entertainment programme included a performance by an Olympic DJ set - Olympic synchronised swimming champions and Laureus Ambassadors Angelica Timanina and Darya Korobova.

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