International Women’s Day - Celebrating Female Athletes

International Women's Day
8th March is International Women’s Day, and what better day than this to celebrate female athletes.
There’s no doubt that female athletes are strong, skilled, and powerful. Women have proven time and time again that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. They’ve had to fight fiercely to be given equal opportunities in sport and they continue to do so. They’re cultural game-changers, not just in the world of sport, but in our broader culture too.
This list highlights some amazing women, who are breaking stigmas to create more space for women in sports in Britain and beyond. You may not have heard of all of them, but all of these women have done incredible things that are worth knowing about!

 

Mia Baker - Pro Golf Player

“I am glad I failed so many times, so I could finally succeed.’ 

Mia only started playing golf in 2019. However, her dedication and commitment to the sport have enabled her to go far in a short period of time.

When she first started, she realised that golf wasn’t a very welcoming sport for women, and leading brands such as American Golf didn’t stock any women’s clothing or equipment in their stores across the UK!

Mia began working to create the change she wanted to see in the industry, to make it more inclusive and welcoming for women. Now she works with brands such as American Golf and Adidas Golf to make this happen!

She is also committed to encouraging new people into the sport and shares her journey.

 

Joelle Murray - Hibernian F.C Captain

‘If you see it, you can be it.’ 

Joelle Murray began her passion for football at a young age. She regularly attended matches from just five years old and dreamed of playing for Hibernian FC, which she achieved at just 17. Now, she has risen to become Captain of Hibernian Women. 

Joelle is also the Manager for Women and Girls Academy at the Hibernian Community Foundation, where she works to inspire more women and girls into the sport. 

 

Brogan Crowley - Great Britain Skeleton Athlete

‘Dream it, believe it, achieve it.’ 

Through a talent identification program, Brogan Crowley entered Skeleton, a winter sliding sport that involves riding a sled down a frozen track while lying face-down, head-first. She loves the speed and rush of the sport and the challenge of remaining calm and concentrated. 

Brogan has been incredibly successful. She won gold in Skeleton at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, was named British Skeleton Breakthrough Athlete of the Year in 2018, and has recently represented Great Britain in the 2022 Olympics. 

Brogan has a history of social-based roles and is committed to inspiring the next generation of athletes.

 

Alice Aitchison - Olympic Weightlifter

“No one can do it for you, if you want it…make it happen”

There are few sports that have as much stigma attached to them as weightlifting, but Alice Aitchison is a Scottish champion who breaks all the stereotypes. At the 2021 British Championships, she lifted a British U23 Snatch record of 83kg and set a new total record of 188kg. 

 

Annabel Dimmock - Professional Golfer

‘You get out what you put in. The road to success is never easy. If it were then, everyone would have done it.’

Annabel picked up a club at the age of 8. By 11, she had gained a place on the Wentworth Golf Scholarship Programme, which gave her professional coaching and top-class facilities.

Following that, she was selected for the Curtis Cup and the youth Olympics teams, and rose to become the number one ranked female amateur in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By 18, she had gained pro status when she joined the Ladies European Tour. 

But her success didn’t stop there. In the 2017 Lalla Meryem Cup, she finished 3rd, and in 2019, she won her first Ladies’ and  European Tour titles. At the young age of 25, she has already had a long, successful career. 

In an interview with Golf News, she explains that Golf is great for physical and mental health and a brilliant way to socialise. She is proud of her golf career and wants to change its image to make it more welcoming for young people.

 

Rach Choong - Para-Badmington Player

Rachel was born with a very rare form of dwarfism called 3M Syndrome. She began playing Badminton in 2000 at a local club and quickly noticed how her disability negatively impacted her ability compared with her non-disabled friends. However, she was determined to challenge her friends and continued training, quickly improving her skills. 

Her commitment and perseverance paid off, and Rachel was chosen to represent her county of Lancashire a few years later. Then, in 2007, a coach approached her regarding the 4 Nations Para-Badminton Championships where she could compete against other people with dwarfism for the first time. 

Following that, her career quickly boomed. Rachel Choong is currently ranked World no.1 in Para-Badminton and is England’s most decorated player with 9 European Championship titles and 10 World Championship Titles!

‘Hard work and determination are keys to success but don’t forget to have fun.’

She is an ambassador for organisations in the UK and Poland, where she works to improve levels of participation of women in sport. She also works to promote racial equality. 

Despite her huge success, her career is almost entirely self-funded, and she has to juggle a full-time job. Although Para-Badminton is now a Paralympic sport and will be making its debut in Tokyo 2021, Rachel’s events have not been included in this Paralympic Games. This means she can not go onto the GB Paralympic Programme and turn professional. However, she remains optimistic for the 2024 Paralympic programme, a decision that will be made this year.

 

 

Take Away

On International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise British female athletes. All of these women show us that with hard work and dedication, anyone can reach incredible feats. 

Sport isn’t just about getting fit - although that also feels great! It’s also about challenging yourself and achieving what you set your mind to. Turning up regularly provides a deep sense of accomplishment and self-worth. 

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