A personal project to celebrate girls and women in sport.
This is Sana, one of my childhood mates who used to play midfield for Middlesex University.
Throughout lockdown, we’ve reconnected with our love for the sport. When interviewing Sana we spoke about how women’s football was not broadcasted enough when we were kids. We didn’t even know of its existence, yet we chose to play with the boys in the school playgrounds and in sports teams at primary school - which could not have happened without the support from Ms. Pavely who let us take part. Whether it was basketball, football, cricket, netball, rounders, you name it we would be at it as kids.
Though our schools provided a lot of support we still didn’t have the means to play at private clubs or outside of school for various reasons. One is the support required from family. It’s no known secret that in Asian culture sports was not deemed as something a girl could or should do. We often talk and joke about ourselves likening to Parminder Nagra from ‘Bend it like Beckham’ - a movie that will always be a favourite. Another would be funding, the equipment, kit and training regime of an athlete doesn’t come cheap and let’s face it our parents would have much rather we spent time and money on studying.
These perceptions of sport in the South Asian culture still need to be challenged to this day. Representation, race and gender still need to be actively addressed on all levels in sport.
In today’s world seeing women’s sport come through and having a national day of celebrating means the world to us both. Watching the rise of professional women’s sport over the last decade has been inspiring. There are also so many great initiatives now.
So in celebration of today, I dedicate this piece to a brilliant sportswoman who I still believe could have a shot at a professional career if given the chance to be signed with a team.