HONG KONG, SAR - Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has been announced as a Global Athlete Ambassador for Right To Play, which is a global organization that uses the transformative power of sports and play to educate and empower more than one million children around the world.
The announcement was made in Hong Kong, where Kvitova is training for the Shenzhen Open.
"I'm so excited to be a Global Athlete Ambassador for Right To Play," Kvitova, who is currently ranked No.4 but who has been as high as No.2, commented. "It's a charity whose work I really believe in - giving children the opportunity to learn through sport is a cause that's very close to my heart."
Wednesday's launch took place on the Blue Pitch at the Chelsea Soccer School in Hong Kong. Chelsea FC have been working with Right To Play since 2007, raising money and awareness and developing a range of resources to use sport to engage, educate and inspire. The pitch is home to Chelsea's soccer development and community programs in the region and is used by hundreds of players every week. The venue also hosts a unique social inclusion project run by Chelsea, Right To Play and the Hong Kong Soccer School, working with vulnerable young people to provide positive diversionary activities and training, developing skills such as cooperation, leadership and teamwork.
"To be here and to see how their programming operates has really opened my eyes to the work of Right To Play," said Kvitova, who spent the morning participating in the charity's educational, play-based programs. "Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children is something I will always remember."
Right To Play was founded in 2000 by Johann Koss, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in speed skating. The program teaches children to protect themselves from disease and encourages them to attend and stay in school and to resolve conflicts peacefully. The programs reinforce new behaviors that create sustainable change, complete with improved academic performance, increased participation and attendance in schools, reduced violence and heightened awareness and steps taken to prevent disease. Having experienced the positive impact of sport, Athlete Ambassadors like Kvitova embody the best values of sport and recognize the impact play can have on shaping a better future.
"Petra Kvitova is a remarkable athlete and we are very excited to have her join our team," said Koss, Right To Play founder, president and CEO. "Her tremendous success as one of the top tennis stars in the game, combined with her dedication to children will bring invaluable awareness to our work."
Kvitova joins an international team of over 300 volunteer Athlete Ambassadors from 40 countries.