Naomi Osaka Expands Her ‘Play Academy’ Initiative to Get More Women in Sports

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It’s a beautiful thing to see women representation in roles that are mainly male dominated. Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has been open about being inspired by Venus and Serena Williams, which has lead to her prosperous tennis career. As a person heavily inspired by women, she also wants to be the woman to inspire others. Osaka announced that her ‘Play Academy’ is expanding to Los Angeles and Haiti.

This announcement comes after the partnership with Nike and Laureus Sport for Good on a Japan-based initiative to get more girls active in sports. According to Essence, the initiative focuses on giving grants, training for community organizations and giving more girls an opportunity to be involved in sports. The expansion to Los Angeles and Haiti hits a special place in her heart because that’s where her father is from. 

It is said that the Play Academy will partner with organizations that “support girls and focus on Black, Latino and Asian girls in East and South Los Angeles.” GOALS Haiti will be the connecting force between all organizations. “We believe that all kids — especially girls — deserve a chance to play, no matter where they come from or what they look like,” Osaka told People about Play Academy’s expansion. “The more we provide girls with opportunities to get active, the more opportunities we are giving them to become leaders in their communities.”

Let’s thank women like Osaka who thinks of other people at the peak of her career. She is currently the highest-paid woman in sports. “[T]here are so many young girls—and especially girls from marginalized communities—who face incredible barriers to play and sport,” Osaka said to The Root. The more I learned about these barriers, through my work with Nike and Laureus Sport for Good, the more I felt determined to do something about it.”

Sports-based organizations can apply for a grant here.