NATIONAL HUNT jockey Rachael Blackmore’s stunning Grand National victory on April 10 could not have been better timed.
Rachael became the first female jockey to triumph in the world’s most famous steeplechase, with a stirring victory on Minella Times just days after the Women’s Sport Trust (WST) announced the Unlocked programme.
The WST’s website reports that some 35 elite female athletes including football stars Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir, world champion wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft MBE, DL and Rugby League England international Jodie Cunningham, have come together to tackle diversity in sport head on, as part of a unique programme created by women’s sport charity, The Women’s Sport Trust.
The Unlocked programme is now in its second year and aims to help athletes accelerate change across the sports industry. Representing 27 different sports and with athletes at different points in their elite careers, the group provides a unique, diverse and powerful insight into the challenges and opportunities that exist in women’s sport, based on those who sit at the heart of it.
Tammy Parlour MBE, CEO and co-founder of The Women’s Sport Trust said: “It has been a challenging year for many, but as we come out of Covid-19, there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport. We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together. Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.”
Other athletes in the group include England netballer and Commonwealth gold medalist Kadeen Corbin; England rugby union prop Shaunagh Brown, British sailor Alice Masterman, British world and rowing Paralympic champion Lauren Rowles MBE and Team GB Hockey player Sarah Evans.
As part of the Unlocked group the athletes will access experts from across the sport, business and media worlds. The Women’s Sport Trust hold workshops and opportunities to hear from industry insiders, as well as provide athletes with their own ‘activator’.
The activators are leaders in their field who will share their connections and experience to help the sportswomen tackle the issues and areas they feel passionate about. Working with the other athletes in the Unlocked group will create a lasting network and a chance to learn from others who face similar challenges and opportunities. Virtual hangouts with the group and The Women’s Sport Trust team are also a valuable source of support and inspiration.
Parlour added: “Unlocked has proven to be a game-changer for the sports industry providing a model for how to empower sportswomen effectively, showing the power of actions, not words, in tackling diversity. We can’t wait to see what this year’s group will achieve.”