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The powerful impact of women’s sport

AWARDED: Benny Bosu

THE WOMEN’S SPORT TRUST #BeAGameChanger awards, supported by Microsoft, showcase the irresistible nature of women’s sport.

Now in their third year, the awards promise to be even bigger and better highlighting the success stories and examples of sporting role models, leaders, journalists, broadcasters and businesses that drive real change for women’s sport.

The prestigious Awards will place women’s sport firmly and rightfully in the spotlight.

The general public and those in the sports industry have put forward hundred’s of nominations in a range of categories resulting in an impressive shortlist.

An expert panel will choose the finalists and the public vote opens on the April 18 – May 1, so you can have your say on the winners too! Winners will be announced on May 11, on the awards night, to an audience including elite athletes, journalists, business people, politicians, sports leaders, grassroots influencers and young people involved in sport.

Awards like these are important in showcasing positive role models in sport and business. They shine a light on phenomenally talented athletes and people working in sport to create change and redress inequalities; thus helping to increase the number and quality of stories in the media, showcasing strong female role models.

The Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards are unique in uncovering the best diverse talent both on and off the field.

This year is no exception with some fantastic nominations.

Some of the highlights for me include a nomination for Individual Role Model for Ruqsana Begum, the 2016 World Muay Thai Champion and the first and only Muslim woman to be a national champion in the sport.

Born and raised in east London Ruqsana is a catalyst for change and has overcome obstacles that few of us can imagine to compete in the sport she loves. Ruqsana has also created a range of sports hijabs with the ambition to get more Muslim women involved in sport.

Another inspirational figure nominated in the Media Individual of the Year is sports presenter Benny Bonsu.

A basketball enthusiast and now NBA broadcaster Benny’s talents are rightfully recognised as being one the few black female sports presenters making a positive difference both on and off screen.

Benny is the founder of Girls in Sport: a programme using sport to empower girls and increase sports participation.

A brilliant and well-deserved Individual Role Model nomination is for Shirin Gerami, Iran’s first female triathlete. Shirin joined her first triathlon team whilst studying at Durham University.

Triathlons have provided Shirin with a visible platform to showcase the importance of women’s participation in sport.

In the spirit of recognising as much talent as possible these Awards also include some Highly Commended individuals.

For the Sporting Role Model category Ezdihar Abdulmula is highly commended as a young basketball player, coach, sports activist and part of the campaign for FIBA to lift its ban on religious headgear.

Other worthy nominations for Ambassador of Women’s Sport go to Rimla Akhtar, MBE, renowned Inclusion and Diversity campaigner and to Saba Nasim - Time to Shine Cricket Coach of the Year 2016 for her commitment to girls grass roots cricket coaching.

The Awards also recognise those inspiring grass roots sports initiatives making a powerful difference in the community.

Enter onto the track – Track Academy founded by Connie Henry, a sport for social change programme using athletics to inspire and motivate young people to fulfill their potential through coaching, mentoring and educational support. Track Academy has a strong focus on girls’ empowerment.

The awards recognise trailblazers! So get involved and vote on April 18.

Visit: www.womenssporttrust.com

* Michelle Moore is a diversity and inclusion advisor for the Women’s Sport Trust

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