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UK Athletics: Why it is Important to have a Role Model

Category: International Women's day, UK Athletics, role model, UKA, celebrate, Right to play, importance, president

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UK Athletics joined with Right to Play last night to celebrate women’s role models with a women’s networking event to mark the importance of Role Models.

The event at BlackRock, London – held exactly one week after International Women’s Day (8 March) – was an evening of networking and discussion chaired by former athlete and now UK Athletics’ Vice President and Equality, Diversity & Engagement lead Donna Fraser.

In front of an enthusiastic audience the panel, which featured world championship medallist 4x400m relay runner, Laviai Nielsen as well as athletics coach Coral Nourrice and Right to PlayDeputy Chair of Right To Play UK and Co-Chair of the Right To Play Women’s Network Leslie McCormack Gathy, spoke at length about their roles in sport and points of inspiration in their lives.

For Nielsen, she discussed the impact her coach Christine Bowmaker had on her, as well as the way her mum inspired her to reach her potential:

“Christine has experienced it herself so she can talk to me about her own experiences and different mindsets,” she revealed.

“And as a mum of twins my mum always made sure we would strive for the best.”

Nourrice, who as a coach and Parallel Success Coordinator in London works with a diverse group of athletes, the message was about ensuring athletes enjoyed their time in sport, whatever their inspiration:

“I want the group to enjoy sport, it’s about their well-being and learning self-respect. But it’s not just about running on the track, it’s about diet, learning not to smoke, drink too much.

“It’s about getting the older ones to talk to the younger ones about experiences, telling them what it took to get there.”

As a female coach of a developing athletes, Nourrice also discussed how she worked to ensure she could maintain her abilities at the same pace as her charges:

“I’m constantly upskilling myself,” she said.

“I do loads of research, and talking to other coaches. I observe them and get other coaches to observe me, and always focus on my own development.”

Leslie McCormack Gathy, discussed how Right to Play are transforming opportunities for the girls and boys in developing nations and war-torn areas across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The evening finished with a reminder of the recent International Women’s Day campaign message #PressForProgress - a call to action for further work to accelerate gender equality.

In summary, Chairperson Donna Fraser said:

“It has been a great evening, and we’ve enjoyed sharing our experiences. Change comes from the top, especially around issues of equality and diversity of gender and race, but it’s also essential that we share inspiration, and with great role models like those on our panel that’s hugely inspiring.”

 

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