Dr. Yunus inscribes Bangladesh’s name in Olympic history
by N.J. Thakuria
Guwahati: Bangladesh may not win a single medal in the Olympics till date, but millions of Bangladeshis found a reason this time to celebrate when Nobel peace laurate Professor Muhammad Yunus received the Olympic Laurel award at the opening ceremony of 32nd Games of the Olympiad Tokyo 2020 on Friday evening.
Thus the south Asian nation incorporated its name in the history of Olympics, which has been organized under the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic with no audience on the ground and Dr Yunus also skipped the ceremony. The creator of Grameen Bank appeared in the digital screen with the adorable trophy to become the second awardee after Kenyan Olympian Kip Keino.
“I am honoured and overwhelmed to receive this Olympic award, which is so special to me and my country,” said the economist turned revolutionary banker turned social entrepreneur who mentors Yunus Centre, a global hub of social business, highlighting its mission to create sustainable social enterprises not just for profit, but to solve people’s problems.
Speaking to this writer from Dhaka, Dr Yunus appreciated the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and wished a success to its mission to transform the world to a peaceful place for the entire human race through the sports. He reiterated the pledge to create a world of three zeros comprising nil carbon emission, nil wealth concentration to end the poverty and once for all, nil unemployment by unleashing the power of entrepreneurship in everyone.
Bangladesh, a Muslim majority nation of over 170 million population, has never succeeded in the Olympic battles for medals. The country used to send their representatives to the summer editions of Olympic Games mostly with wildcard entries. In Tokyo, six athletes under the guidance of Bangladesh Olympic Association are participating in various disciplines.
IOC President Thomas Bach commented that the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavours including Nobel peace prize in 2006, Dr Yunus remains a great inspiration for all sharing the vision how sport can contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
While addressing the inaugural function, the IOC President commented, “Today is a moment of hope. Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined. But let us cherish this moment.” He also added that selected athletes from 205 national Olympic committees and IOC refugee Olympic team arrived in Tokyo spreading the message of solidarity, peace and resilience.