Legendary Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has been elected the newest member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique collection of the world’s greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen. Dravid, the fourth-highest run scorer in the history of Test cricket, is the 47th member of the Laureus Academy and he was in action straight away at a school in London’s East End, where he joined fellow Academy Member Steve Waugh, meeting and playing cricket with young coaches who have been trained with support from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. As he was photographed in front of the world’s media at Christ Church C of E School in the Brick Lane area, he said, “It is a great privilege to be invited to join the Academy and I look forward to supporting the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. I am truly honoured to be recognised alongside some of the greatest sportsmen and women we have ever seen. Sport has given me so much, and it is wonderful to now have the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
Giving Dravid a warm welcome to the Laureus Family was Australia’s greatest cricket captain Steve Waugh, who retired in January 2004 as the most successful captain in the history of Test cricket, with 41 wins in 57 Tests. He said, “On behalf of all the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy I would like to welcome Rahul. He achieved amazing success in an illustrious career. He was so pugnacious and determined when he was at the crease, he could have been an Aussie. He shares with all of us in the Academy the belief about how effective sport can be in tackling problems and bringing people together which is at the heart of the Laureus philosophy.” England cricket legend and Laureus World Sports Academy Member Sir Ian Botham was not able to be at the visit, but said, “Rahul had an incredible temperament and was a run-making machine. He was immovable and could stay there for hours. No wonder they called him ‘The Wall’. I am delighted that he will be joining us in the Laureus Academy. I look forward to welcoming him.” The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, as well as voting for the winners each year of the Laureus World Sports Awards, support the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which uses the power of sport to improve young people’s lives.
Since its inception, Laureus has raised more than €60 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The young cricket leaders who Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid met came from a project at the Christ Church C of E School, modelled on the Urban Academy, founded by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation partner Active Communities Network. The Urban Academy has trained many young leaders over the last three years, sharing best practice within the sport for development sector and linking in with a large network of organisations to help improve the lives of young people throughout the UK by offering progression routes for young people moving through projects, as well as new courses to benefit the wider workforce operating in this field.
Shinead Philpott, Laureus Urban Stars National Programme Manager, Active Communities Network said, “Thanks to funding from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation we have been able to not only expand Urban Stars from a pilot to national programme, but have been able to create and sustain, long-term, the Urban Academy. The Urban Academy underlines our commitment to progressing participants and volunteers within our projects, and more broadly to up-skilling the youth and community sports workforce and wider networks. As part of contributing to this network our skills are utilised internationally within the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation project portfolio as well within the wider sport for development community and the work at Christ Church C of E School today highlights how young people can progress from participating in sports sessions to becoming young leaders.”
Rahul Dravid is the fourth-highest run scorer in Test cricket and one of the key elements in India’s rise to the summit of world cricket. He scored 13 288 Test runs, being beaten only by Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis, and also scored 10,889 runs in One Day Internationals. As a player, he had immense powers of concentration. At Adelaide in 2003, when India won a Test in Australia for the first time in a generation, he batted 835 minutes over two innings. A few months later, he was at the crease more than 12 hours for the 270 that clinched India’s first series win in Pakistan. During his time as captain, he led India to Test series victories in England and the West Indies for the first time in a generation. An occasional wicket-keeper, he is the most successful slip catcher in history. Dravid retired from international cricket in March 2012, but continued to play for Rajasthan Royals for another year. He is now the team’s mentor and works on youth and talent initiatives.
Photo: Academy member Steve Waugh welcoming Rahul Dravid as a new ambassador
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images