12 April 2016
The prestigious Women's Sports Trust Awards are unique in uncovering some of the best diverseÂ talent out there both on and off the sports field. Â
The awards recognise trailblazers so read on for some of the nominee highlights, asÂ selected by Runnymede Trustee Michelle Moore, then get involved and vote:
Â - AÂ nomination for ambassador of womenâ€™s sport for Ebony Rainford-Brent a former EnglishÂ cricketer, who was the first black woman to play for theÂ England team and also captained the Surrey Womenâ€™s team.Â Since retiring from cricket, EbonyÂ has gone on to become the firstÂ Director of Womenâ€™s Cricket at Surrey County Cricket Club; pundit for the BBC flagship radio programmeÂ Test Match SpecialÂ and is one of the first female expert summarisers to commentate on menâ€™s international cricket matches.
Â - Another inspirational figure nominated in the ambassador category is Annie Zaidi. Annie was the first South Asian and Muslim woman in her region to get a FA level two coaching certification badge. Annie is the Girls Academy coach at the Leicester City Centre of Excellence and has overcome discrimination to succeed as a football coach. She is currently working towards her UEFA B license. Annie says 'My attitude was that they could take my ball away, my boots away, but one thing they couldnâ€™t take away was my passion'
Â - A brilliant and well-deserved nomination is for the multi talented England footballer Eniola Aluko who plays for Chelsea Ladies and is also an accomplished sports lawyer. 2015 was certainly a year Eniola will never forget from winning the Women's Super League and FA Cup double with Chelsea, meeting the world famous Pele and receiving her solicitor's certificate of admission.
Â - Finally the awards recognize those inspiring grass roots sports initiatives like minority sports that we may not have heard of before. Enter onto the pitch â€“ Cage Cricket a fast-paced version of the game designed for confined urban spaces. Programmes are being delivered within socially, geographically and economically challenged communities in the UK and Caribbean. Cage Cricket overcomes the barriers that prevent most people playing cricket: lack of time, space, money and the sport's old-school elitist image.
The expert judging panel includes a diverse group of people including Connie Henry; a former international triple jumper and now Director of the sport for development programme Track Academy. The Voiceâ€™s very own Leon Mann is also a judge; Leon is a leading broadcaster, consultant and film-maker. Other judges include Andy Barrow; a triple Paralympian and three-time European gold medalist in wheelchair rugby and sports lawyer and a director of Women in Football Liz Ellen.