As a Trustee of Women’s Sport Trust I found myself with the privilege of being among a quite select number celebrating the performances of 10 of our most impressive sportswomen last night at the BT Action Woman Awards. The Awards will be screened at 730pm tonight, 10th December for those of you lucky enough to have BT Sport.
This is not going to be a lengthy post, the stories of those 10 performances can be found at the BT sport website. But I do want to share some of what was an amazing evening of recognising and promoting women’s sporting achievements within and for Great Britain in 2014.
The Action Woman Awards are in their second year, and as our host Clare Balding very clearly put it – it’s not that women were not achieving in sport before but that we were failing to recognise, celebrate and promote it. I think back to when we started this blog, and it was influenced by ‘that’ SPOTY failure, of feeling mystified that apparently not a single woman had achieved a performance worthy of nomination. We have seen a massive step-change since then in coverage and support for women’s sport; the SPOTY list for 2014 features 4 women of the 10 contenders. And specific women focused events such as last night’s and the Sunday Times and Sky Sportswomen of the Year remain an important part of building this coverage and recognition.
All of the nominees for the Action Woman Award demonstrated an amazing and tremendous dedication to their sports, having achieved significant medals in their fields. It was great to be at an event where the host, Clare Balding, and the TV channel are so obviously passionate and committed to telling these women’s stories – comparisons of team mates to ‘bags for life’ and all!
It’s not a very well-kept secret that Charlotte Dujardin took the prize for her simultaneous World, Olympic, European and World Cup dressage titles, with Shauna Coxsey (climbing) and Jo Pavey (athletics) running up respectively in 2nd and 3rd.
All of the nominees were inspirational and we were particularly proud to see our very own Bristol-based gymnast and multiple medal holder Claudia Fragapane on the stage and recognised for her amazing success at such a young age; seeing Claudia take the stage with 41 year old Jo Pavey was such a brilliant experience. We hope to speak to Claudia soon to give you a profile of this stunning local role model.