Muhammad Yunus has been named as the second winner of the Olympic Laurel ©Getty Images

Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will follow in the footsteps of legendary Kenyan Olympic champion Kip Keino when he receives the Olympic Laurel at the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony here.

Professor Yunus has been awarded the prize for "his extensive work in sport for development, including founding the Yunus Sports Hub, a global social business network".

The Olympic Laurel was introduced at Rio 2016, and is due to be awarded at the Opening Ceremony of each Summer Games.

It is said to link to the Ancient Olympics and the focus on human development through peace and sport, with its introduction recommended in Agenda 2020.

Keino, who won steeplechase gold at Munich 1972 and the 1500 metres at Mexico City 1968, was the first recipient in Rio.

Yunus will now follow suit here at Japan National Stadium on July 23.

"The Olympic Games and sport have the most convening power in the world," Yunus said.

"We can use this power to change the world in the most effective ways. 

"Sport has the power to transform lives by galvanising the world, and social business can be the most efficient tool to unleash this power.

"Sport is natural to all human beings. 

"It brings all human strengths and emotions into play, irrespective of differences. 

"That gives it enormous power. 

"I urge that we channel this power for achieving social goals and peace."

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach described the work done by Professor Yunus as "exemplary".

Yunus, now  81, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in setting up the Grameen Bank, which offers "micro loans".

His initiative is said to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them.

The Professor then worked with the IOC on its Young Leaders Programme, the Imagine Peace Youth Camp and the Athlete 365 business accelerator - the latter a scheme which helps Olympians adjust after their competitive sporting careers have come to an end.

He was also on hand to welcome the inaugural Refugee Olympic Team to the Athletes' Village at Rio 2016.

Kip Keino lifts the Olympic Laurel trophy at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images
Kip Keino lifts the Olympic Laurel trophy at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

"We are very thankful for all he is doing for the Olympic community," Bach said.

"He shares his wealth of knowledge generously with the athletes and the Olympic community. 

"He is a great inspiration for all of us. 

"He helps athletes in their post-sport career development to become socially responsible entrepreneurs and shares our vision of how sport can contribute to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. 

"In particular, with Paris 2024, he is helping to build a new model for the Olympic Games with minimum impact for the planet and maximum impact for legacy for the people of the host country."

Yunus was chosen for the Olympic Laurel by an international jury representing all five continents. 

It includes Bach, his predecessor as IOC President Jacques Rogge and Japanese film director Naomi Kawase.

Canada's former governor general Julie Payette and South Africa's executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka are the other members.

"The Olympic Laurel is conferred upon outstanding individuals who help build a better world, using the power of sport to harness change and positivity," said Kawase. 

"You will see that this year's recipient is internationally recognised for relentless work in the empowerment and upliftment of disadvantaged sections of society."

The base of the trophy to be received by Yunus is a replica of a stone, hewn from the site of the Games of antiquity in Ancient Olympia.