Laureus Ambassador and two-time World MotoGP Champion Marc Márquez has given a group of young people from a Laureus-supported rugby project in Kuala Lumpur a moment they will never forget, ahead of this Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Márquez, who secured his second world title, at the age of just 21, in Japan last week, personally showed a group of young Malaysians around the pit lane at the Sepang track and answered their questions.
After a second brilliant year, the remarkable young Spaniard can equal the record of 12 Grand Prix victories in a season by Laureus Academy Member Mick Doohan in 1997, if he wins at Sepang.
In March, Márquez was at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur to receive the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after winning his first world title last year.
Márquez said: “It has been another amazing year for me. To win a second world title is incredible and I want to thank everyone who has played such a big part. That was one of the things I said to the guys who I showed around today – you cannot do things on your own. I may be the one who is the world champion, but everyone in my Honda team played a crucial part. To have success, you have to work together. That applies to life, as well as sport.
“The atmosphere is always excellent at Sepang. Malaysians love their motor sport and it was great to be able to show the youngsters around. I am sure they enjoyed themselves. I certainly enjoyed meeting them and talking to them about what life is like for them. I hope the visit inspired them.
“Laureus will be doing more in Malaysia over the next few years to help improve the lives of young people, and, as a Laureus Ambassador, I hope that I can be part of that,” he added.
The young people came from the COBRA rugby club in Kuala Lumpur, which last week announced a tie-up with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and charitable foundation Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia to support an innovative youth rugby programme, which it is hoped will ultimately improve the standard of international rugby in Malaysia.
They joined Márquez in the Honda garage, where they were shown his bikes, met the members of the team and had the opportunity to ask the world champion about his career, his motivation and to talk about Sunday’s upcoming race. They then stayed at the track to watch a testing session.
The young people have performed well for COBRA over the last year and were selected to represent the club at Sepang. The aim of the visit is to inspire them by giving them the opportunity to meet a young sporting legend, which will encourage them to strive to do even better in rugby, and as individuals in their life away from sport.
The 1Malaysia COBRA Youth Rugby Programme also aims to use rugby as a means to reach out to young people in Malaysia to address social problems and to develop leadership initiatives.
COBRA has been involved in the development of rugby since 1967. With a flourishing schools programme already in place, this complementary youth programme will keep talented rugby players in the sport after they complete their secondary education. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation will lend its experience and expertise to the programme.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was the Host City for the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards last March and recently hosted the Laureus Sport for Good Global Summit, with the support of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia.
Ung Su Ling, CEO of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia said: “We are very pleased with how our partnership is progressing with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Today the boys from the 1Malaysia COBRA Youth Rugby Programme have been able to experience something equally exciting off the rugby field from an excellent role model.
“It is not every day that one gets to explore the pit lane with the opportunity to ask a world class rider questions about his career and what inspires and drives him. I hope the boys have gained extra insight into personal motivation today.” Ung concluded.