Naomi Osaka visits Play Academy in Tokyo, advocates for importance of girls' participation in sports

Former World No.1 Naomi Osaka visited the Play Academy in Tokyo and spent some quality time with the students of the academy in the Japanese capital. The tennis superstar is one of the founding members of the Play Academy, created to help young girls grow through play and sport.

The 24-year-old played a little soccer and took part in other fun activities with the kids at the event. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion has stayed back in Tokyo after she was forced to withdraw in the Round of 16 of the Japan Open last week.

Osaka was part of the team that launched Play Academy in 2020, with the program in Tokyo being the first one.

"Tokyo is where Play Academy first launched in 2020, and where the vision to change girls' lives through play and sport began. It's a place Naomi holds close to her heart and has always wanted to give back to," read a post on Instagram from Play Academy.

The inspiration behind Play Academy came from Naomi Osaka's own experience of how tennis changed her life for the better. She aimed to help young girls who lacked certain basic opportunities and empower their lives through sport. She joined hands with Nike and Laureus Sports for Good to create Play Academy.

The Academy first launched in Tokyo and also has programs in Los Angeles and Haiti. LA is Osaka's county of residence, while her father is of Haitian-American origin. Play Academy provides grants as well as capacity-building training opportunities for community-based sports organizations.

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