Two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has launched Play Academy with Naomi Osaka, a girls-only sports program in partnership with American company Nike and Laureus Sport for Good.
Naomi Osaka launches a girls-only sports program
The former World No.
1 has launched the program to change the lives of girls through sport. In her column for NIKE, where she talks about the reason for launching the academy, Osaka says, "Around the world, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys.
And some girls, especially girls from underrepresented communities, never even get a chance in the first place. The more I learned about the barriers that girls face in getting active, the more determined I felt to do something about it.
I started talking with people who could help — people who understand just how much sport and play can mean for a girl who’s still finding her own place in this big world." The program will launch in Tokyo.
Osaka says this has what inspired her to team up with Nike and Laureus Sport for Good to start the new program which is aimed for girls. "It’s called Play Academy with Naomi Osaka, and our vision is to help level the playing field by changing the game for girls — starting in Tokyo, a city that means a lot to my family and me.
Growing up, the idea of becoming a role model isn’t something I ever dreamed of. You dream about winning Grand Slams and becoming No. 1 in the world, but you don’t ever think about what might happen when you actually get there.
I can’t wait to get started with Play Academy. I hope that the girls will learn new skills, maybe discover a new favorite sport, because you never know where it might take you. But I also hope that they will have fun, gain confidence and realize just how powerful girls can be — no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what color your skin."
22 year old Naomi Osaka is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. She has won five titles on the WTA Tour, including two Grand Slams and Premier Mandatory titles. Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments at the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, and became the first player to do so since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.