‘Right to Play’ gets off the mark
Winter Olympic gold medallist in town:
RIGHT TO PLAY: The Right to Play Sports, for development
programmes in Sri Lanka was launched by the Chief Executive Officer,
Chairman and the founder of Right to Play International Johann Olav Koss
at a ceremony held at the Trans Asia Hotel in Colombo yesterday.
Koss is currently visiting Sri Lanka on the invitation of Prema
Pinnawala, Secretary Sri Lanka Athletics Association and Project Manager
‘Right to Play’ Sri Lanka.
Koss is one of the greatest Winter Olympic athletes of all time, four
time Olympic Gold Medallist, three World all round champions winner, and
has won a numerous World Cups and established a total of 11 world
records in speed skating.
Right To Play has started a project in Sri Lanka which will benefit
more than 4,500 children and youth in Matara and Hambantota districts.
The project has been approved for one year funding from UNICEF for the
period January 2007 to January 2008.
Right To Play uses sport and play to enhance the healthy physical and
psycho-social development of children and build stronger communities.
Right To Play develops and implements child and community development
programmes in nearly 20 countries in Africa, Asia (including Sri Lanka)
and Latin America, working with UNICEF, UNHCR, and WHO.
In addition Right To Play uses specially-designed sport and play
programmes to improve health, build life skills, and foster peace for
children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease.
Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has fund
raising offices in China, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, the
US, U.A.E. and Canada.
Johann, the four-time Olympic Gold Medallist in speed skating made
world headlines when he won three gold medals at the 1994 Lillehammer
Games in the 1500, 5000 and 10,000 metre events.
Johann first became involved with Right To Play (then known as
Olympic Aid) in 1993 when he visited the African country of Eritrea. He
was profoundly moved by the plight of the children. At Lillehammer,
Johann donated the prize money from his 1500m victory to Olympic Aid and
challenged other athletes to do the same.
In 1994 Johann was appointed Special Representative for Sport for
UNICEF International. Johann was also declared one of 100 Future Leaders
of Tomorrow by TIME Magazine, and one of 1000 Global Leaders by the
World Economic Forum.