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Meet the nominees for the 2021 FISU Gender Equality Champion Award

FISU 5 October 2021

Following our applications summary for the 2021 FISU Gender Equality Project Award last week, here is a presentation of the nominees for 2021 FISU Gender Equality Champion Award.

The FISU Gender Equality Project Award rewards organisations that have developed outstanding projects designed to advance and achieve gender equality in university sport in their country, continent or internationally. With the same objective to achieve, the Gender Equality Champion Award recognises individuals who have made significant efforts to increase the participation of women in sport at all levels, both on and off the field of play.

Lakshika Madhushani

  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Sport Sciences and Physical Education in Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
  • Editorial Board member- Olimpianos, Journal of Olympic Studies
  • Voluntary Key Coordinator at the National Olympic Committee Sri Lanka (voluntary position)
  • Former National Volleyball Player and former Captain of University of Kelaniya Volleyball team
  • Awarded Asia’s Outstanding Young Sport Academic Award 2020-21
  • Winner of IOC Solidary Scholarship to complete a Master’s degree in Olympic Studies at German Sport University
  • Youngest academic (at 24 yo), regardless of gender, in Sport Management in Sri Lanka
  • Olimpianos

Kylie Bloodworth

  • Member Relationship Manager, UniSport Australia
  • Since 2019 has led UniSport Australia’s Social Inclusion and Diversity Strategy
  • Developed UniSport’s transgender guidelines for sport participation
  • Kylie’s knowledge has enabled UniSport to become a leader in gender inclusion and diversity and further enhanced UniSport’s reputation as a National University Sports Federation. This has enabled UniSport to support the university members and provide them with:
  • Education opportunities for gender related courses
  • Gender equality resources
  • Access to opportunities and leadership in the gender inclusion area.

Beth Garner

  • National Women and Girls Football Development Officer, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS)
  • Former Sports Club Coordinator at University of Brighton, where she was awarded a ‘Women of Impact Award’ as a result of her work championing equality for students across university clubs
  • Former President of University of Nottingham Women’s Football Club
  • Former Deputy Vice Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Group for Sussex County FA
  • Responsible for two national workforce development programmes: The Women’s Football President network and the FA Women’s Leadership Programme

Beth’s main focus is to utilise football as a vehicle to enhance lives, creating more participation opportunities for female students to engage with institutions across the UK. This is delivered through embedding three minimum operating standards across Institutions that support opportunities to play ‘for fun’, ‘for competition’ and ‘to lead or volunteer’. Beth has been able to embed these standards across 70 institutions and as a result, BUCS exceeded FA participation targets by 93% engaging 8,546 new female participants into football 19-20.

Maria Belen Varvajal Pena

  • Professor of Physical Education at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso Chile
  • FIFA International Referee since 2010
  • First female referee to officiate a Chilean professional football match 2018
  • First Chilean female referee to participate in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, France 2019
  • Chilean National Football Team- Copa America, Argentina 2006
  • Manager of the Women’s Futsal Team, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso Chile

Botho Lilian Thobega

  • Botswana Tertiary Student Sports Association (BOTESSA) Vice Secretary General since 2017
  • Senior Lecturer at Gaborone Technical College, Botswana
  • Previously served as the Treasurer and Communications and Marketing officer at BOTESSA
  • Spearheaded the BOTESSA Women in Sports Commission Interim Committee as an Ex Officio member – Developed the strategic plan, terms of reference and scope of work for the commission.

Mandla Gagayi

  • Only male nominated for the award
  • Sports Director University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • At UWC he has introduced policies that allow for women to be represented at all sporting platforms, including leadership structures
  • Former University Women’s Football Coach in South Africa
  • His support for Women in Sport was recognised by Amnesty International who awarded him an Award for Social Change in 2009
  • Received the Rhodes University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community engagement for his effort in establishing school leagues (netball and football) in communities of Grahamstown and Port Alfred

Written by FISU Gender Equality Vice-President, Adam Pratchett