The fourth Women in World Athletics (WIWA) seminar took place this weekend with more than 40 delegates from 24 countries taking part in British Athletics’ pre-legacy programme for the London 2017 IAAF World Championships.
The seminar, held at Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth from 1-4 April, began on Friday evening with an introduction by Lis Henderson, an original delegate from the first event held in 2013 and a Field Judge Official.
This was followed immediately by the keynote speech delivered by former world record holder distance runner Ingrid Kristiansen, who told the story of her incredible career as one of the world’s best distance runners.
The Norwegian transitioned from being a cross country skier and even continued her running career after starting a family.
She said: “The reason I became so good was because I ran and then for the rest of the day I didn’t think about it. Athletes today can make things so difficult. Everything is possible and I think that made me strong.”
Perhaps the best piece of advice she gave the delegates was: “You have to take the ups and downs with the same smile.”
The Saturday began with an introduction for IAAF council member Sylvia Barlag before Stuart West, Director of MBA Programmes at the University of Derby, then took over and provided an overview of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 WIWA seminars and summarised the results of the programme so far.
He gave an introduction to the research aims and interim outcomes and moved on to explain the aims of the 2016 programme.
There was then a session on developing careers which was delivered by Dr Amanda Harrington of Loughborough University. Harrington has worked as a consultant in career development with organisations such as the Arts Council and passed her advice on to the delegates.
The next guest speaker, Radha Balani of London Sport, took to the stage to address the delegates on the topic of overcoming barriers and self-esteem.
She spoke about the barriers she faced and how she overcame what she described as “limiting beliefs”; declaring that “the main barrier we face is ourselves.”
Next up was a further careers session delivered by Orla Kelleher of the University of Derby before the day concluded with the WIWA and Officials Social Dinner.
Orla Kelleher led further sessions on Sunday which were linked to career progression and overcoming barriers and Sunday afternoon also featured a session on how to generate support networks and ended with the WIWA Finale Dinner.
Sunday’s activity was also combined with the UK Athletics Officials Conference which was attended by 250 officials. The day featured speeches from Toni Minichiello, coach of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Olympic 400m bronze medallist Katharine Merry.
The seminar was wrapped up on Monday morning with a session on ‘Building your Personal Brand’ by Janie Frampton and a final chance for the delegates to do some networking.
British Athletics’ Officials Manager and WIWA organiser Paula Gowing believes that the weekend was another huge success on the road to London hosting the IAAF World Championships in 2017.
She said: “The fourth year of this seminar was certainly the best yet and we’re delighted with the progress we’ve made in helping women to develop in sport. It’s great to see women from all over the world come together and we hope that WIWA can act as a platform for further progress in the coming years.”
A number of officials were presented with awards during the UK Athletics Officials Conference:
Young Official of the Year – Tom Smeeton
Officials’ Official of the Year – Dean Williams
Inspirational Official of the Year – Elspeth Allan
David Littlewood Award – Rachel Hulse
The following officials were presented with Long Service awards for 40 years of service to officiating: Dave Biggin, Noel Frost, Roy Adams, David Saker, Roy Dyer, Clive Howell, Roger McCall.