Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has showed how sportspersons can take social messages to the masses, Srinivas Prasad, the minister at India`s UN Mission, told a General Assembly session.
Tendulkar has been involved in a campaign for personal hygiene practices among children and also promotes the national 'Swachh Bharat' programme, Prasad said at the session on Sport for Development and Peacebuilding, on Monday.
"As the national sport of India, which reaches millions of people in cities, towns and villages across the country, cricket and its stars provide a very important platform for spreading social messages.
"Indian cricket`s greatest icon, Sachin Tendulkar, illustrates this... Tendulkar was part of a popular national campaign to promote hygiene among children which encouraged school children to wash their hands before eating food. Similarly, he has recently been a brand ambassador for the `Swachh Bharat` campaign," the minister said.
Prasad said that while organised sports were a major source of entertainment, the challenge before the world was to extend the pleasures of sports to millions of children in developing countries.
For this "the first task is the creation of safe open spaces and playing areas" for children who do not have them, he said.
"Hence, investment in creating sports infrastructure and a culture of participation in sports is crucial."