P&G Athletes for Good awarded over USD 500,000 in grants to the respective charitable organisations nominated by 52 Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.
Tokyo Paralympic medallists Jamal Hill, Jason Smyth and Pin Xiu Yip are among the para-athletes whose nominated charities were selected as recipients of the Athletes for Good Fund.
Find out more about the incredible initiative and how it’s supporting athletes and the causes that hold a special place in their heart.
In just five years, Jamal Hill has gone from dropping out of college to being a Paralympic medallist. The USA’s para-swimmer won bronze in the men’s 50m freestyle S9 in Tokyo, and credits giving back to his community, namely through the charitable organisation he founded, Swim Up Hill, as the inspiration in helping him to become the athlete he is today.
For Jamal, his journey as an athlete extends well beyond serving his own dreams: “It’s not just about what we’re doing for ourselves, but what we can induce others to do for us in service of that dream.” He launched Swim Up Hill – which received a USD 10,000 grant to support its work through the Athletes for Good initiative – to help reduce the number of drownings worldwide and provide critical swimming education to minority groups.
“My mom couldn’t swim when she put me in Mommy & Me swim class, and I actually taught her how to swim about seven years ago now,” he explained in reflecting on founding Swim Up Hill. “There’s a big stereotype and stigma that ‘black people don’t swim’, ‘brown people don’t swim’… ‘low/middle income communities don’t really swim’. From day one, she had it in her mind and heart that I would not be one of those statistics.”
It’s not just about what we’re doing for ourselves, but what we can induce others to do for us in service of that dream.
There’s a big stereotype and stigma that ‘black people don’t swim’, ‘brown people don’t swim’… ‘low/middle income communities don’t really swim’.
From strength to strength
Singaporean swimmer Pin Xiu Yip and Irish sprinter Jason Smyth won gold in their respective individual events in Tokyo and were also both successful with their Athletes for Good applications before the Games. Pin and Jason have been working with organisations in their home countries – Singapore Disability Sports and Vision Sport Ireland, respectively – and, like Jamal, recognised the impact the grant could have.
Jason, who won gold in the 100m T13 event, serves as an ambassador and role model for Vision Sport Ireland, inspiring blind and visually impaired youth in his community. A particular passion of his is fighting for the needs of para-athletes in Ireland, as he hopes to strengthen their representation at the Games.
In Tokyo, Jason took note of how para-sport is going from strength to strength in terms of the level of competition, making the need for wider representation in Ireland even higher. Speaking after his gold-medal winning race, he said: “It was a tough race. The standard of para-sport, especially in the male sprint events, is getting very, very good.”
“The events are getting stronger and stronger, and what it’s taking to win a medal gets harder and harder. It’s trying to be consistent and rising to the challenge, which is fabulous for the sport. It certainly keeps me on my toes.”