BEIJING, China - Li Na has been announced as a Global Athlete Ambassador for Right To Play - an organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower kids facing adversity.
It was announced Thursday as Li visited Right To Play programs at Beijing School For The Blind.
"Being with these children helps to give me perspective as an athlete," the 2011 French Open winner said. "I get to play tennis every day as my job. It's hard to imagine being a child and not having the chance to play. It's every child's right, no matter where they come from or what their abilities are.
"That's why I want to be an Athlete Ambassador for Right To Play," she added. "I want to help make sure children like the students here are given every opportunity to have fun and learn through play."
Li participated in activities with kids aged 10-14 at the school, where Right To Play games have been adapted to meet their needs. Led by teachers trained as Right To Play Coaches, the program uses play-based learning to promote inclusion, build confidence and help kids develop communication skills.
Right To Play currently reaches one million children across over 20 countries through regular weekly play activities. Over the next five years, Li hopes to provide another 50,000 children with access to Right To Play programs - to do that she will devote time to her new role as Global Athlete Ambassador.
Li joins a team of over 300 Athlete Ambassadors from 40 countries. As role models they inspire kids and celebrate their successes - they help raise awareness by lending their voice to the cause.
"Li Na is truly a global athlete and we are very excited to have her join the team," said Johann Koss, a four-time Olympic gold medalist who founded Right To Play in 2000 and is currently the Preseident & CEO. "Her tremendous success and profile as a global tennis star combined with her dedication to children will bring inspiration to children everywhere and awareness to every child's right to play."
For more information on Right To Play, please visit their official website at www.righttoplay.com.