Japanese athletics champions Yuko Arimori and Dai Tamesue have stated their intent to support the transformational work of Laureus Sport for Good in their new roles as Laureus Ambassadors.
Both Yuko and Dai have achieved greatness in their chosen disciplines of marathon running and sprinting respectively, and they join the Laureus family as Ambassadors with a clear goal of supporting Laureus’ mission and using the power of sport to help young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage.
As Laureus looks to expand its presence in Japan and Asia-Pacific – with the support of MUFG, the Japanese bank and Global Partner of Laureus – Yuko and Dai will play a pivotal role in supporting the roster of activities in the region.
Trailblazing marathon runner Yuko Arimori’s big break came in 1990, when she made an impressive competitive marathon debut, finishing sixth in the Osaka Ladies’ marathon. Yuko’s stand-out performances came on the greatest stage of all, at the Olympic Games. She is a member of an illustrious group of double Olympic marathon medalists, winning silver at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games followed by bronze at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and capturing the hearts and minds of the Japanese public in the process.
Yuko has also been dedicated to using the power of sport to make a positive impact in society throughout her career. She is currently the President of the Special Olympics Nippon Tokyo, a Laureus programme partner in Japan.
Sprint star Dai Tamesue made history when he became the first Japanese track athlete to win a world championship medal, winning a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2001 World Athletics Championships in Edmonton. The sprint specialist repeated his historic World Championships achievement four years later, winning bronze at the Helsinki 2005 World Championships. Throughout his 25-year competitive career, Dai represented his country at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In 2012, Dai hung up his spikes, but didn’t lose his passion for sport, choosing to give back to society in his role as Representative Director at Athlete Society.
Laureus Ambassador Yuko Arimori, said: “Sport has a phenomenal power to transform lives for the better. Laureus Sport for Good uses the power of sport to address a wide range of social issues, helping and supporting children and young people. I’m looking forward to getting involved with Laureus here in Japan and helping them in their mission to use the power of sport to tackle a variety of social issues.”
Laureus Ambassador Dai Tamesue, said: “Here in Japan, we have a huge opportunity to use sport as a tool for social change, with increased interest around the Rugby World Cup and Olympic and Paralympic Games. Laureus Sport for Good is a global leader in using sport to transform the lives of young people, putting Nelson Mandela’s vision that ‘sport has the power to change the world’ into action. This vision is something I’ve believed in throughout my career, so I’m proud to become a Laureus Ambassador, using sport as a tool for positive change in the lives of young people.”
Olympic legend and Chairman of Laureus Sport for Good Edwin Moses, said: “Both Yuko and Dai excelled in their athletics careers and they both believe in what we are working towards with Laureus Sport for Good. In the unprecedented times we are living in, the role of sport in society is more important than ever and having dedicated athletes supporting the Laureus in Japan is a real boost for our work there. I’m looking forward to working with both Yuko and Dai in the future as we focus on using sport to improve the lives of young people in Japan and around the word.”
Hironori Kamezawa, President & CEO Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, said: “We are delighted that Ms. Arimori and Mr Tamesue will join the Laureus family, which is a true testament to their globally esteemed achievements and unrelenting efforts to expand the world of sport. Here at MUFG, we support Sport for Good as Laureus’s philosophy of “making a better world with the power of sport” resonates with us strongly as an organization. One of MUFG’s key goals is to contribute towards solving social issues in communities, and Laureus’s core values are a perfect match as we continue to work toward this. With the support of Ms. Arimori and Mr Tamesue, there is no doubt that Laureus will continue to use the power of sport to further efforts in Japan and the rest of the world."
In Japan, Laureus Sport for Good is focused on the use of sport to promote social inclusion and empower young women and girls. Yuko and Dai join the more than 180 Laureus Ambassadors, including Japanese footballer Shinji Kagawa, gymnastic legend Kohei Uchimura and tennis champion Ai Sugiyama.
Laureus Sport for Good is a global charity that supports children and young people by using the power of sport to end violence, discrimination, and disadvantage. It operates under the fundamental belief that the achievement of this ambition is best delivered by ending the social issues that affect the younger generation and changing their lives for the better.
Over the last 20 years, Laureus Sport for Good has raised more than €150m for the Sport for Development sector, reaching and helping change the lives of almost 6 million children and young people since 2000. Laureus Sport for Good currently supports more than 200 programmes in over 40 countries that use the power of sport to transform lives.