Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prime Minister of Jamaica Wins IOC World Women and Sport Trophy

Congratulations Portia Simpson-Miller - Former Prime Minister of Jamaica.
08 March 2007 - Lausanne, Switzerland

Today, joining in the world’s celebration of International Women’s Day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded its World Women and Sport Trophy for 2007 to the first female Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller.

At an official ceremony held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Portia Simpson Miller was honoured for her outstanding dedication to promoting women’s activities in Jamaican sport – both as athletes and as administrators. As well as the World Trophy, five continental trophies were presented, to Fridah Bilha Shiroya (Kenya / Africa), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA / Americas), Naila Shatara-Kharroub (Palestine / Asia), Ilse Bechthold (Germany / Europe) and Veitu Apana Diro (Papua New Guinea / Oceania). During the official announcement, IOC President Jacques Rogge emphasised that “the IOC, through its Women and Sport Commission, has been working untiringly to implement programmes to enable women and girls the world over to feel fully involved in the universal movement to promote women in and through sport”.

Since 2000 the IOC has annually recognised a person, organisation or institution for their remarkable contribution to the promotion of women in the sports world. The winners are selected by the IOC Women and Sport Commission, chaired by IOC member Anita L. DeFrantz. This year the Commission received 65 applications from National Olympic Committees (NOC) and International Olympic Sports Federations (IFs) from all over the world.

A political voice for the good of women and sport

Portia Simpson Miller, winner of the world trophy in 2007, is the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica, elected in March 2006. Her exceptional political career started in 1970. In 1989 she was appointed Minister for Sport, and in this function was also responsible for Women’s Affairs. Shortly after her election as Prime Minister she became one of the first world leaders to sign the World Anti-Doping Code. Throughout these years, her personal leadership, based on a “bottom-up” philosophy, has clearly supported the development of women’s sporting activities in Jamaica. As a result, more and more women are being elected to the decision-making bodies of the National Sport Federations.

A life devoted to serving society

Fridah Bilha Shiroya, Treasurer of the NOC of Kenya, is the winner of the trophy for Africa. One of her outstanding merits is the strengthening of women’s role in Kenyan sport: as the first female to hold an executive office in the Kenyan NOC, she founded the “Association of Kenya Women in Sports (TAKWIS)” in 1996. This initiative became a driving force to increase women’s participation in Kenyan sports as well as female representation in the national administrative sports structures. Furthermore, Fridah Bilha Shiroya has proved her innovative spirit by founding the Kenya Women’s Football Association and bringing the sports of softball and baseball to her country.

Conveying values to the youth

One of the world’s greatest Olympians, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, wins this year’s trophy for Americas. With the creation of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Foundation in 1988, the six-time Olympic medallist has helped young people to prepare for their role in society – driven by guiding principles such as character and leadership, teamwork and dignity. The Foundation raised USD 12 million to build the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in her hometown East St Louis, Illinois, which offers more than 30 programmes in education, culture, arts, sports and fitness, health and life skills for young people aged 6 to 18 with a major focus on young girls. About her tireless work with the Foundation, Joyner-Kersee says: “Once I leave this earth, I know I have done something that will continue to help others”.

Opening up the sports world for girls in Palestine

The Women and Sport Commission’s choice for the trophy for Asia was Palestinian Naila Shatara-Kharroub, a pioneer in establishing and developing physical education for girls in her country since 1979. Shatara-Kharroub has served the Ministry of Education for several years, and is today the Principal of the Dar Al-Kailma School in Bethlehem. Despite the political, social, economic and security-related challenges, and having started from zero, Naila Shatara-Kharroub has managed to introduce physical education in the 50 girls’ schools of Bethlehem and Jericho Districts, establish playgrounds, organise sports equipment and conduct various training courses for female physical education teachers.

Role model for young female sport leaders

Ilse Bechthold, Chairperson of the IAAF’s Women’s Committee since 1981 and member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission, is the 2007 winner of the trophy for Europe. She has dedicated her competence and will to opening the door for women to nearly every discipline that is practised in athletics. In 1998 she initiated the “Year of Women in Athletics” within the IAAF, as well as several worldwide clinics and courses. Having been successful in the discus, shot put and pentathlon herself, her passion for sport has also influenced her professional life. She has taught physical education to thousands of future teachers at the University of Frankfurt and served as a spokesperson for female students.

Getting all generations moving
Veitu Apana Diro
, Vice-President of the NOC of Papua New Guinea, is the winner for Oceania. She is one of the longest-serving women in sport in her country. As a founder of the national netball federation in 1965, she has always encouraged women and girls to discover this sport. In 2000, she became Chairperson of the then newly founded Papua New Guinean Women in Sport (WIS) Committee. Her efforts towards increasing female participation in sport were and are addressed to all generations: she has coached numerous young girls in various sports, but has also established a masters association for older women. Her recent initiative is a mentoring programme in which elite female athletes go into schools to motivate young girls to practise sport.

Read it for yourself here: Click

Bonita Jamaica
Beautiful Place. Amazing People.

See you in Jamaica.


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