Nawal El Moutawakel inspired by Mumbai-based Magic Bus Project on International Day of the Girl

Nawal El Moutawakel is no stranger to breaking boundaries and smashing stereotypes. Therefore, it was fitting that the 400m hurdles gold medallist from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics marked International Day of the Girl with a visit to the Magic Bus programme in Mumbai.
El Moutawakel won the first-ever 400m final for women in LA. In doing so, she made more history: her gold medal was the first for any Moroccan athlete and the first won by a Muslim woman. 
In her role as a founding member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, she visited Magic Bus, a project that since 1999 has provided education, opportunity and a pathway out of poverty to children and young people across India. 
Laureus Sport for Good and Magic Bus have a longstanding partnership in India. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has supported the project since 2004 and it was the recipient of the Sport for Good Award at the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards.

El Moutawakel visited along with former pole vaulter Sergey Bubka. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President PT Usha, who completed with El Moutawakel in the 1984 Olympics and share a special bond off the track was also part of the event today in Mumbai. 


Both Laureus Academy Members as well as PT Usha are due to attend the IOC session in Mumbai later this week, with today’s visit offering them an opportunity to spread the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

Laureus Academy Member Nawal El Moutawakel said: “I’m inspired to witness the incredible work done by Magic Bus. What they have achieved in opening up educational opportunities for young girls and boys is changing lives. The International Day of the Girl is all about empowerment and the strive for gender equality. A project like Magic Bus is helping to make that a reality within underserved communities.”
Magic Bus CEO Jayant Rastogi said: “With high rates of out-of-school youth in India, especially young girls, our mission to provide education and life skills to young people across the country. This mission embodies so many of Laureus’ own values. We share the belief that sport has the power to change the world – every day we see the impact it can have on improving the lives of children and young people in need.”
IOA President PT Usha said: “Today is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child. It’s important to encourage gender equality and empower girls through sport and I’ve had a great time. I’m here with Nawal El Moutawakel and Sergey Bubka ahead of the 141st IOC Session here in Mumbai. Thanks to Laureus for all that they do to achieve gender equity through sport.”

Laureus has several iconic Indian sports stars in its Academy, including Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. The country’s growing reputation as a powerbase of global sport is enhanced by its hosting of the ICC Cricket Men’s World Cup this month, which is taking place in 10 different stadiums in 10 cities across India. 


Then, from October 15-17, the 141st IOC session – the general meeting of the members of the International Olympic Committee – will be held in Mumbai. It is only the second time that an IOC session has been held in India.


The county’s sporting reputation continues to grow through the success of iconic figures like Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Olympic, World and Asian champion in men’s javelin. 

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