KILTEEL based show jumping sensation Nicola FitzGibbon has become the first Irish female ambassador for JustWorld International, the charity founded by Jessica Newman, which provides educational support for underprivileged children in Senegal, Brazil, Cambodia, Honduras and Guatemala.
FitzGibbon joins a high profile list of equestrian stars who have volunteered time, and part of their earnings, to promote this worthy humanitarian cause. Frenchman Kevin Staut, winner of the 2009 European Championship title and first athlete representative to the FEI Executive Board, America’s Laura Kraut and Portugal’s Luciana Diniz are just three of the best-known names on the JustWorld ambassadors list which includes over 400 representatives from 35 countries.
Tipperary-man Kevin Babington, who has been based in Pennsylvania, USA for many years, is the only other professional Irish rider on the JustWorld team.
JustWorld International was established in 2003, and its mission is to deliver and facilitate education for disadvantaged children, thereby helping to break the cycle of poverty in the longer term.
Nicola FitzGibbon has been on a continuous upward path in her showjumping career since she started competing on ponies at the age of twelve.
In 2009, at just 21, she became the youngest ever Irish national champion, and last year she hit the headlines, again partnering her fabulous gelding Puissance, in a brilliant debut performance on the Irish Aga Khan Cup team at Dublin Horse Show.
FitzGibbon aims to use her profile in the media, and her network of friends in equestrian sport and other spheres, to promote awareness of the JustWorld agenda.
“I’m delighted to have the chance to support JustWorld International. It’s a huge honour to join so many great riders who are prepared to give of their time and energy to do something like this. Education is an essential tool for every child and I’m a great believer that people can improve their circumstances through learning at any level,” insisted FitzGibbon.
The second annual ‘Strut!’ fashion show in support of JustWorld International is taking place during the Winter Equestrian Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre, Florida, in two weeks’ time, and will feature many of the world’s best-known riders. FitzGibbon travels over for this event, and will fly the Irish flag on the cat-walk alongside Babington and Ballinasloe-native Andrew Bourns.