Football star and UN envoy Marta spotlights efforts to empower Sierra Leones

The three-day visit that began yesterday is the first trip to Africa for Ms. Vieira da Silva, a Brazilian national known to her fans as Marta, since her appointment last year as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Programme (UNDP). As part of the visit, the five-time winner of the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year title is promoting local efforts that empower women, one of the eight internationally-agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which seek to end extreme poverty by 2015. “We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty,” said Marta, who is currently a forward player with the Western New York Flash. “UNDP works around the world making a positive difference in people’s lives, and I am proud to add my personal commitment to its work,” she added. She is visiting UNDP programmes, and meeting with young women and advocacy groups that are lobbying the national parliament to enact laws that ensure women’s quotas at all levels of political decision making, according to a news release issued at the start of the visit. “Women’s full participation in leadership and decision making is critical for the consolidation of peace and security, as well as meaningful for overall development in Sierra Leone,” said Mia Seppo, UNDP Country Director. “Marta’s visit will showcase some of the good work that has been done towards achieving these goals.” UNDP has been helping Sierra Leone to establish legal services aimed at women who experienced sexual violence or abuse, providing them with aid and advice on their rights and options for pursuing justice. Gender equality and women’s rights are vital issues for the post-conflict nation, where 73 per cent of women are illiterate, and females currently occupy only 37 per cent of secondary school places, and only 19 per cent of university slots. Marta is part of an elite roster of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors that also includes soccer stars Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Iker Casillas and Didier Drogba, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, among other world-renowned personalities. 1 September 2011The world’s top female football player and United Nations advocate Marta Vieira da Silva is on a mission to Sierra Leone to highlight efforts to empower women in the West African nation that is recovering from years of conflict. read more

Nadal wins 11th French Open title

Rafael NadalWorld number one Rafael Nadal won an 11th French Open title by beating Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets.Nadal, 32, won 6-4 6-3 6-2 to earn his 17th Grand Slam, three adrift of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record. The Spaniard edged an intense opening set, tightening his grip in the second.And despite having cramp in the third he increased the tempo further, beating Thiem in his first major final when the 24-year-old returned long. “It’s a dream to win 11 times,” Nadal said.“It was important to play the way I did. It was a tough moment when I got cramp. He is a player who pushes you to the limit.”The victory means the past six Grand Slam titles have been won by either Nadal or Federer with the next generation of players finding it hard to break the veterans’ stranglehold on the game.Nadal is the only second player in history to win the same Grand Slam on 11 occasions after Margaret Court, who won 11 Australian Open titles between 1960 and 1973.However, it was not all smooth for Nadal, who missed four match points on his own serve before clinching victory when Thiem went long on the fifth. Nadal dropped his racquet at the baseline in celebration before turning to his box and raising both hands skywards. (BBC) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNovak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal to win record 7th titleJanuary 27, 2019In “latest news”US Open 2016: Stan Wawrinka upsets Novak Djokovic for men’s titleSeptember 11, 2016In “Sports”Nadal made me a better player – FedererFebruary 28, 2018In “Sports” read more