Yesterday night the International Olympic Committee celebrated six change-makers in advancing women role in and through sport. Introduced in 2000, the IOC Women and Sport Awards are given to women, men or organisations who have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement and reinforcement of women’s participation in sport. One World Trophy and five Continental Trophies are awarded every year.
As reported from www.olympic.org, Finnish advocate of grassroots sports and gender equality Mrs Birgitta Kervinen was awarded the World Trophy for her tireless and long-standing efforts to promote gender equality in sport and society. Having enjoyed an extensive and influential career as a voluntary sports leader both nationally and internationally, Kervinen has been instrumental in uplifting and mainstreaming gender equality, and is a role model for many women and girls.
Five Continental Trophies were awarded to the following people:
– Winner for Africa: Ms Lidé Anne Ouoba Zoma (Burkina Faso)
As one of the first women in her country to compete in long-distance running at an international level, Zoma has worked towards removing the barriers that prevent girls from participating in sport.
– Winner for the Americas: Dr Patricia Sangenis (Argentina)
A medical doctor and former athlete, Dr Sangenis has worked towards raising awareness of female athlete health, helping to debunk myths about women’s sporting performance.
– Winner for Asia: Japan Ladies Tennis Federation (Japan)
The Japan Ladies Tennis Federation has actively promoted women’s participation in tennis in a variety of ways, producing world-class Japanese players along the way and increasing women’s participation in sport.
– Winner for Europe: Ms Androulla Vassiliou (Cyprus)
The Former European Commissioner for Sport has been instrumental in placing gender equality in sport within European Union policy-making.
– Winner for Oceania: Mrs Judy Otto (Palau)
The President of the Palau Swimming Association has played a key role in encouraging women’s sport participation in the country and enhancing commitment to health and active living.
During the event, also a new category of awards was given: Acknowledging the exceptional role of coaches in an athlete’s life, the IOC’s first-ever Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to retired Japanese synchronised swimming coach Kaneko Masako and retired American swimming coach Jon Urbanchek.