By: Chandrashekar Bhat
BANGLADESH’S Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will receive the Olympic Laurel at the Tokyo Games, the second time the trophy has been awarded.
Yunus, whose pioneering micro-lender has been hailed across the globe for cutting poverty, will be honoured for “his extensive work in sport for development”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement on Thursday (15).
The economist and globe-trotting celebrity speaker, who won the Nobel in 2006, will be given the Olympic Laurel at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on July 23.
The award was created five years ago to recognise endeavours in culture, education, peace and development through sports, according to the IOC.
It was given for the first time at the 2016 Rio Games to Kenya’s former Olympian Kip Keino, who opened a children’s home, a school and an athletes’ training centre in his home country.
Yunus, 81, founded the Grameen Bank in the 1980s and shared the Nobel Prize with the micro-lender.
His initiatives include the Yunus Sports Hub, a network of social enterprises that promote development through sports.
Yunus has faced legal troubles in recent years, after he was sacked in 2011 as the head of the bank.
His supporters say he has been targeted by Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who accused him of “sucking blood” from the poor with high interest rates.
In March 2020, he was fined $88 (£63) after admitting that a social business firm he set up broke labour laws.