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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday honoured five women and one organisation for their outstanding contributions to the development of women’s participation in sport and sports administration during a ceremony for the 2012 IOC Women and Sport Awards in Los Angeles.

Presented on the opening night of the 5th World Conference on Women and Sport, the trophies were awarded to one global and five continental winners selected by the IOC Women and Sport Commission from a pool of 52 nominees. The applicants were submitted by National Olympic Committees (NOCs), Continental Associations and International Federations.

India’s Manisha Malhotra was presented with the World Trophy for her commitment to helping disadvantaged girls progress through sport. Following a professional tennis career that saw her compete in the 2000 Olympic Games, Malhotra started offering women support in a range of sports, including archery, wrestling, boxing, badminton, athletics, squash and shooting. She travels all over India – visiting some of the country’s most remote areas – to find talented individuals among the socio-economically deprived.

As Chair of the Sports Committee of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Malhotra has also worked tirelessly to promote female leaders in all aspects of sport in the economic sector.

“As a former Olympian, Ms Malhotra knows how important a tool sport can be in the lives of young women,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge, who was on hand to present the trophy to Malhotra. “Ms Malhotra has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to everyone she meets. I applaud her and all of tonight’s winners for everything they have done to help improve the lives of women around the world.”

The five continental trophies were awarded as follows:

– IOC Trophy for Africa: Peninnah Aligawesa Kabenge (Uganda)
– IOC Trophy for the Americas: the Bradesco Sports and Education Progamme and Centre (Brazil)
– IOC Trophy for Asia: Zaiton Othman (Malaysia)
– IOC Trophy for Europe: Aikaterini Nafplioti-Panagopoulos (Greece)
– IOC Trophy for Oceania: Roseline Blake (Cook Islands)

Click here to learn more about their profiles and achievements.

The 5th World Conference on Women and Sport, jointly organised by the IOC, United States Olympic Committee and the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, concludes on 18 February.

After the award presentation, Ms. Malhotra joined Conference chair Michelle Kwan, Billie Jean King and Julie Foudy on stage for a quick roundtable. Always inspirational to hear how these ladies have overcome challenges and thrived under sometimes difficult circumstances.

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