Young sports activist to be recognised at Sport Gives Back

The inaugural Sport Gives Back Awards are the brainchild of former international triple jumper Connie Henry, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and will be held at The Royal Institution in London’s Mayfair on March 5, 2020.

A 17-year-old from Swansea will be recognised by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust for the work she has done transforming lives through sport in Wales.

Despite battling her own mental health issues including anxiety and depression, Saadia Abubaker is using her voice to campaign for more girls from BAME and minority backgrounds to get active in her school, wider community and across Wales. She is a Young Ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust and a member of the Wales National Young Ambassador Steering Group.

In March, Saadia will be awarded with The Youth Sport Trust Believing in Every Child’s Future – Young Activist of the Year at the Sport Gives Back Awards. In her community and at Gower College Swansea, Saadia runs tailored coaching sessions every week for BAME girls to try different sports and has successfully helped more of her peers to overcome cultural barriers to get active.

Saadia said:

When I first started coaching girls in my school who are BAME, it was very difficult to get them to engage in sports. I had to really persuade them to come along and understand the importance of getting active and how they can overcome certain cultural barriers, but now, they are a completely different group of girls. They’re so confident, they laugh and joke around and are excited to try new sports. It makes me so happy when I see the excitement in their faces.

“It is difficult being a female coach, especially in my case as I moved to Wales from Sudan and had to overcome language barriers and cultural barriers. What I am trying to do in my school and community is unique because I’m trying to get more girls from ethnic backgrounds to participate in sports. The Young Ambassador programme has made a big difference to my life.

“For me the Young Ambassador programme has made me realise that as a young person I can create an impact. Especially with coaching, you’re able to see first-hand the impact that you’ve made, and it reminds me of my worth again.”

 The Youth Sport Trust is one of 10 charity partners celebrating the power of sport to benefit society at the Sport Gives Back Awards. The charity uses sport to deliver wider outcomes for young people in education.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:

Developing leadership skills in young people, helping them understand their influence and empowering them to take action on the issues that matter to them is a key strand of our work as a charity. Our Young Ambassador programme, inspired by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, is active across England, Scotland and Wales and we are incredibly proud of all the young people in the movement and its alumni.  To be able to celebrate Saadia’s achievements as a Young Ambassador in Wales today is truly an honour.

“Saadia is a champion for the power of sport to change young lives. While she is an activist, leader and influencer, she remains humble and just wants to make even more of a difference in the future. She is a credit to her school and community, and we are thrilled to celebrate her achievements in this way.

Sporting legends including Lord Sebastian Coe, Dame Kelly Holmes and Daley Thompson CBE will be amongst the VIPs present at the Sport Gives Back Awards.

The other charities behind the awards are: Active Communities Network, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, Greenhouse Sports, Lord’s Taverners, Saracens Foundation, The Samson Centre for Multiple Sclerosis, Sported, Sport Works, Yorke Dance Project and Youth Sport Trust.

Lord Coe added:

It’s with great pleasure that I support the Sport Gives Back Awards. Track Academy is a remarkable charity and I have been familiar with the work it undertakes for a number of years. When approached about the initiative to create an awards ceremony that celebrates the UK individuals and organisations that use sport to change lives, it immediately resonated with me.

I believe passionately that sport is the nation’s greatest social worker. Our opportunity to celebrate the people on the front line is vital.

The event has been sponsored by Actonians RFC, Bride Hall Group, British Athletics, DHL, JR Sports Stars, Nationwide Building Society, Refinitiv, Simmons & Simmons, Sport England and Travers Smith. Tickets to the glittering ceremony are available via www.sportgivesback.trackacademy.co.uk and via TicketAid.

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