Sporting Elite Get Together To Inspire Girls

Olympic and Paralympic medal winners have gathered together at a special conference to inspire school girls to pursue a career in sport.

Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE and Olympic and World Champion rower Helen Glover were among the elite athletes who spoke to almost 600 girls at the Girls Go Gold event. They were joined by European indoor champion (800m) Jenny Meadows, London 2012 double sculls Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins and former England netball international Tracey Neville. The conference was organised by members of the Girls’ Schools Association (‘GSA’) and took place in two venues, one north and one south, to make sure as many girls as possible could attend.

Girls Go Gold is an annual event that aims to inspire up and coming sportswomen – some of whom are already competing nationally and internationally – and to inform girls about the many careers that are available to them in the world of sport. Delegates include 14-17 year old girls from the GSA and other schools.

During the course of her speech, double sculls Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins announced that she would be unlikely to defend her championship in Rio de Janeiro as she is four and a half months pregnant with her second child.
As well as key note speakers, there was a range of additional presentations, workshops and seminars on topics such as sports journalism, sports photography, podiatry and nutrition plus careers advice and information from universities and UCAS.

Alice Phillips is president of the Girls’ Schools Association and head of St Catherine’s School, Bramley which is hosting the southern event. She said:
Britain’s sportswomen are proving that they are among the best in the world. As the educators of thousands of young girls, it’s our responsibility to inspire and inform them about the tremendous opportunities that sport has to offer.

Sue Hincks is head of Bolton School Girls’ Division, which is hosting the northern event. She said:
We have been staggered by how much interest there has been in this conference. We could have easily filled the seats several times over.”

The Northern Programme, Bolton School Girls’ Division

Helen Glover, Olympic and World Champion rower 

Jenny Meadows, current European Indoor Champion at 800m – key note speeches

Tracey Neville, former England international – netball workshop
A variety of workshops, seminars and other presentations including:

  • TV sports production and sports journalism
  • Sports and biomechanics testing
  • Sports rehab and physiotherapy
  • Podiatry

A large number of university sports departments were in attendance, including Loughborough, Liverpool John Moores, Chester, Bolton, UCLAN, Liverpool Hope and Edge Hill. Courtesy of Sporting Chance USA, girls had the opportunity to learn about overseas sports placements as an alternative pathway to develop both academic and sports scholarship opportunities in the USA.

The Southern Programme, St Catherine’s Bramley

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE – key note speech
Since her retirement, the gold medal Paralympian has become a cross-bench member of the House of Lords, a director of UK Athletics and a board member of the London Marathon.

London 2012 double sculls Olympic gold medallist Anna Watkins

Olympic sports photographer Mark Pain

A variety of workshops, seminars and other presentations including:

  • Careers in sport
  • Nutrition for sport
  • Exercise physiology

UCAS representatives were also available for the girls to explore further the opportunities on offer in Higher Education.

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