New Delhi: For 15-year-old football fan Jatin Malhan, it was a moment he will never forget, the chance to meet famous international football manager Andre Villas Boas in his country's capital New Delhi.
They are from different worlds. Andre Villas Boas is the former manager of a group of blue chip football clubs around the world - Porto, Chelsea, Tottenham, Zenit St Petersburg, Shanghai SIPG, Marseille - while Jatin is the goalkeeper for the youth football club Rurka Kalan. But they share the same love of football and the desire to help others around them.
What connected Andre and Jatin at this very special meeting at the Laureus-supported Slum Soccer programme, apart from their mutual love of football, was a unique drawing competition, which hundreds of young people from Laureus Sport for Good projects around the world had entered, and which Jatin won.
His winning design can now be admired as an engraving on the back of the 16th special edition timepiece that Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has launched in collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good.
The IWC Watch Drawing Competition invites participants each year from more than 250 Laureus-supported community sports programmes to create designs on a given theme. The latest edition is built around the theme 'Time to Change' - highly suitable given what the world has seen in the last 18 months, and an ideal way for the children of the programmes to channel their thoughts and experiences from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jatin's winning entry shows hands united together as equals, and could not better embody Sport for Good's objectives: to promote tolerance, foster community spirit and support gender equality through sport and education. He was presented with a special prize by Andre Villas-Boas and the programme he attends received a donation from IWC Schaffhausen to help it continue its inspirational work.
The international football manager Andre Villas Boas, said: "I am really excited to be in India to meet Jatin and the young people from Slum Soccer. It's wonderful to think that the watch which Jatin helped to design will contribute to raising awareness for Laureus. It was a great honour recognising Jatin as the winner of the competition and we enjoyed talking about football during our time together. I am also thinking of all the other young people, like Jatin, who are in Laureus programmes around the world, similar to Slum Soccer here in New Delhi, and who are benefiting from the experience. This is a brilliant and unique initiative and I would like to thank Laureus Global Partner IWC sincerely for their support."
Mehdi Rajan, Managing Director, Middle East, India, Africa, IWC Schaffhausen, said: "IWC Schaffhausen has a long-standing relationship with Laureus Sport for Good. Together with the foundation since 2005, we have been honoured to support Laureus and help them on their mission to bring about social change for young people. Today, we're thrilled to be here in India to present the award to Jatin, our winner of the 2021 IWC Drawing competition. The watch with his design titled 'United Hands' truly represents the need of the hour."
Giving a child access to sports can change lives. This has been at the heart of the work of Laureus Sport for Good for more than 20 years. Since 2005, Laureus has worked with IWC Schaffhausen to give young people a chance to combine sport and art - changing lives and inspiring others. This opportunity to use art as an outlet perfectly complements Laureus' use of sport as a tool to engage children and young people, bringing them confidence, resilience and team spirit, health and friendship. (ANI)