Fundación Rafa Nadal announced as 2024 Laureus Sport for Good Award Recipient

Laureus Sport for Good Award
Fundación Rafa Nadal received this year’s Laureus Sport for Good Award at a star-studded ceremony in Madrid this evening. 
Founded in 2010, Fundación Rafa Nadal is led by tennis legend Rafael Nadal’s wife, director María Francisca Perelló, and fosters team spirit, respect and effort through participation in physical activity and education. By providing equal opportunities for its beneficiaries, it helps to break down barriers standing in the way of social inclusion.

“It is such an amazing honour to pick up this Award in recognition of work being done at Fundación Rafa Nadal. It is testament to the combined efforts of our committed team – both in Spain and India – who have helped bring meaningful change to young people’s lives," Director María Francisca Perelló said.

"When I look at the other five Nominees for this Award – and the transformative work they are doing to spread the values at the heart of Laureus Sport for Good – it demonstrates the power of sport to transform society.

Fundación Rafa Nadal acknowledges the vital role that parents play in supporting their children both on and off the court. Families of youngsters attending one of the three Rafa Nadal Foundation Centres – in Palma, Madrid and Valencia – are given the tools to establish a positive home environment, to supplement the work being done on campus. By facilitating access to sport for children at risk of exclusion, the centres are a place where they feel valued and can thrive. These young people and their families receive comprehensive support in three key areas: education, sport and psychosocial support.
Laureus Sport for Good Award
The Indian city of Anantapur is one of the poorest in the country – a place where social division and gender inequality remain prevalent. Each year, the Nadal Educational Tennis School (NETS) serves more than 250 minors from disadvantaged communities in the area. It offers regular tennis training, provides opportunities for young people to enhance their English and computing skills, while also offering a daily nutritional supplement and basic health coverage. It is testament to the project that many of its students join the team as volunteers, becoming role models for the next generation.

Other transformative projects include More Than Tennis, a collaboration with Special Olympics which supports young people with intellectual difficulties through regular tennis training. Serving 29 schools across Spain, this programme provides a platform on which those facing immense daily challenges can shine. Play All works in vulnerable neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona, providing tennis training and value-based education to children in those communities. Finally, Study & Play assists students and athletes who wish to pursue higher education in the United States by connecting them with scholarships.  
Nadal is now a five-time Laureus Award winner, having received the Breakthrough of the Year Award in 2006, the Comeback of the Year Award in 2014 and the Sportsman of the Year Award in 2011 and 2021. He becomes the first former Laureus winner to receive the Sport for Good Award.  

Laureus Sport for Good was established in 2000, placing sport at the forefront of driving societal change and impacting the lives of more than 6.5 million children and young people ever since. It currently funds and supports more than 260 sports-based programmes in over 45 countries, all of which use sport to promote equality for all. 

By ensuring each programme addresses at least one of six social issues – including Health and Wellbeing, Education, Gender Equity, Employability, Inclusion and Peacebuilding – Laureus Sport for Good supports organisations, charities and communities in their ambition to create a better, more inclusive world for young people to be a part of.

Fundación Rafa Nadal’s commitment to this goal – through its many sustainable programmes – was the reason why Laureus Sport for Good joined forces with the organisation in 2020. 

The Laureus Sport for Good Award is presented each year to an organisation who, in the opinion of the 69 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy – the guardians of Sport for Good – have made a significant contribution to transforming the lives of children and young people through sport.

Laureus Sport for Good Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick said: “This Award is incredibly well deserved. The Sport for Good Award celebrates the incredible work carried out by Laureus Sport for Good since its foundation in 2000, impacting more than 6.5 million children and young people and funding more than 260 sports-based community programmes in over 45 countries.

"For over a decade, Fundación Rafa Nadal has worked tirelessly to change the lives of young people in Spain and India. The values that they embody – such as team spirit and respect – are expressed through physical activity in a way that is transforming families and communities. They are also the values which are at the core of Laureus. Their work will ensure that Rafael Nadal’s legacy will extend far beyond his incredible achievements in tennis over the last 20 years.”
Also shortlisted alongside Fundación Rafa Nadal for the 2024 Laureus Sport for Good Award were five programmes doing remarkable work in their own communities. These included Justice Desk Africa, a group working to empower girl survivors of gender-based violence in Cape Town; Dancing Grounds, a New Orleans-based programme that connects dance and creativity with social justice issues; ISF Cambodia, which aims to provide young people living in urban slums with a viable route out of poverty; Obiettivo Napoli, which works with over 100 children facing exclusion and economic difficulties in the Italian city; and Bola Pra Frente, a group teaching essential transferable skills to children in Rio de Janeiro to support their efforts in securing future employment.

Fundación Rafa Nadal picked up their Award at a glittering ceremony in Madrid, where some of the greatest athletes in the world attended sport’s most prestigious Awards. Winners on the night included Novak Djokovic (Laureus World Sportsman of the Year), Aitana Bonmatí (Sportswoman of the Year), Jude Bellingham (Breakthrough of the Year), Spain Women’s Football Team (Team of the Year), Simone Biles (Comeback of the Year), Diede de Groot (Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability) and Arisa Trew (Action Sportsperson of the Year). And only at Laureus were the winners selected by the 69 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy – Olympic champions, world-record breakers, athletes who redefined their sports and who now make up the ultimate jury on sporting greatness. 

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