The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today awarded its 2006 World Women and Sport Trophy to former Argentinean tennis player Gabriela Sabatini at an official ceremony held at the headquarters of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva (Switzerland).
While Gabriela Sabatini's many victories need no introduction - 27 singles and 12 doubles titles, plus a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games - her work to promote and develop tennis in her country, among youngsters and particularly girls, has not often made the headlines.
As well as the world trophy, five continental trophies were presented to women who play an outstanding role in promoting sport in their countries. The winners are as follows:
- Trophy for Africa: Albertine Barbosa Andrade (Senegal)
- Trophy for America: Charmaine Crooks (Canada)
- Trophy for Asia: Elisa Lee (Korea)
- Trophy for Europe: Dominique Petit (France)
- Trophy for Oceania: Lorraine Mar (Fiji)
The 2006 winners were selected by the ION Women and Sport Commission, chaired by IOC member Anita L. DeFrantz, from dozens of candidates submitted by the National Olympic Committees and International Federations of Olympic Sports.
The Women and Sport Commission's choice of the World Trophy in 2006 was Argentinean tennis player and three times world No. 3 Gabriela Sabatini. After retiring from an active sports career in 1996, Gabriela Sabatini devoted the same strength and energy to her support work, with a view, in her own words, to "give back to sport something of the many things that sport gave to me". She is behind a programme for young players run by the national tennis federation for which she has provided all the funding. She also finances women's tennis tournaments and free tennis clinics for young children - all out of the public eye