11 inspiring women of the Commonwealth Games8 Mar 2018 by Fiona Self
Across the Commonwealth, women are leading the way in sport, art and business.
At GC2018, they will take centre stage as they inspire the next generation of leaders. And for the first time, there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, be inspired by some of the leading ladies of the Games.
Growing up in the Arua District in the West Nile of Uganda, Peace Prosocvia’s parents couldn’t afford to pay her education fees. Against their wishes, she left home to go to the city and now she’s the captain of the Ugandan netball team, is studying a Masters degree in marketing and is an incredible role model for women in Uganda and around the world.
Rupinder Kaur started wrestling when she was 12, living in a small village in India. She wrote in a diary that she wanted to become an international champion, at a time when female wrestlers were almost unheard of. “My mum said no way, this is not a girls’ sport. She said wrestlers have broken ears, you won’t find a boy, you won’t get married, you won’t be able to wear earrings,” Kaur said. Fast forward to 2018, Kaur made the ultimate sacrifice to pursue her dream and it paid off – she will represent Australia at GC2018.
Eloise Wellings is the fastest Australian woman over 10,000m in Olympic history but she says her greatest achievements have taken place off the track. Wellings is the co-founder of the Love Mercy Foundation, working to empower communities in Northern Uganda to overcome poverty. On the road to GC2018, she’s been championing the Love Mercy Millions challenge, where a team of runners are aiming to run or walk 1,000,000 kilometres to support the charity.
This is Dorcus. She is 28 years old and lives in Barr Village Northern Uganda • Dorcus has been in the Cents for Seeds program for 5 years and is nailing it. She has farmed huge harvests of rice which has enabled her to buy a cow, pay for school fees and has also enabled her to build a seperate grass hut for a kitchen so that she can cook for her huge family • Dorcus cares for 9 children, 4 of which are her own and the other 5 she has taken in to care for them because nobody else can • I told her she was amazing and she replied “God has blessed my life with Cents for Seeds and now I have the opportunity to bless others... I want to be able to do that for these children, I want to keep going and never give up” • Dorcus’s story reminded me of the ripple effect of Cents for Seeds and caused me to wonder how many more women like Dorcus are waiting for an opportunity to not only change their own lives but the lives of those around them. #centsforseeds #what30cando 📸 @jonbirdandbeestudio
The Main Stage at Festival 2018 will include a performance by GRRRL. GRRRL is an all-female electronic music collaboration with a purpose: to tell their collective stories of life, conflict, inequality and change through music. GRRRL features independent, influential artists from around the world, who draw on their different cultures and musical styles to deliver powerful, inspiring performances.
New Zealand superstar Dame Valerie Adams has been a dominant force in world shot put for almost 20 years and it all started as an escape from bullying. “I got bullied at school because I was so tall, kids called me every name under the sun,” Adams told GC2018.com. Adams will head to her fifth Commonwealth Games and when she retires, she hopes to inspire young athletes from New Zealand to “come through the ranks, work hard and do their best.” GC2018 will be Adams’ first Games as a mum – her daughter, Kimoana, was born less than five months ago.
Australian para athlete Lynne Seymour will make her Commonwealth Games debut at 67. Seymour is one of Australia’s top vision impaired lawn bowlers and will compete with her director and husband, Bob, by her side. “It cost me a fortune getting all the trophies home,” Bob joked, telling GC2018.com about her first nationals competition where she won everything she entered. Lucky that medals don’t take up too much room in the suitcase, right Bob?
Anna Hursey - Table Tennis
On the other end of the age spectrum, Anna Hursey is just 11 and will represent Wales in Table Tennis at GC2018. Despite heading across the globe to compete against players decades her senior, Hursey insists she isn’t nervous. “I don’t normally get nervous,” she told BBC Wales. “I know I am so young and will have lots of chances.”
Wow, 11-year-old Anna Hursey is a table-tennis sensation! She'll be competing at the Commonwealth Games! 👏— BBC Get Inspired (@bbcgetinspired) February 11, 2018
Think it's the sport for you too? Find out how to get started here ➡ https://t.co/weojgIzzwo 🏓 #GetInspired pic.twitter.com/dpWRoY2ce7
Kelly Cartwright is known for her skills on the track and field, but at GC2018 she’s throwing all her strength behind another sport – Para Powerlifting. The two-time Paralympic medallist was named in the Australian Para Powerlifting team after only training in the sport for a year. Cartwright also has a two-year-old son and competed in Dancing with the Stars. Is there anything she can’t do?
I’m so excited to be able to share with you all that I officially have a spot on the 2018 @commgamesaus team! I’ve been chipping away at this new sport for a little while now & I absolutely love it! I couldn’t tell you how many late nights I spent in the gym sitting there, envisaging what it would be like to return to a major world stage like the Commonwealth Games. I sat down with @exclusiveinsight to share my come back journey & the moment it all became a reality. Head over to their page for an exclusive insight 😜into my story #parapowerlifting @commgamesaus #exclusiveinsight #paralympian @markdadswellphotographer @gc2018 🏋🏼♀️
Speaking of multi-talented, super-strong women, the amazing Alethea Boon will represent New Zealand in Weightlifting. Boon competed at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games as a gymnast. She thought her elite sporting career was over – until she found CrossFit, then Weightlifting.
Again and again and again . . . . Practice practice practice! What shows in less than a minute of work on insta actually took me blinkin close to 2 hours in real life. Working hard? Or hardly working? 😂😉 I must be making the most of those rest periods. #instalife #notreallife #repetition #buildingblocks #practicemakesprogress #snatch #clean #weightlifting #nzteam #GC2018 #earnthefern
Louise Bezzina - Festival 2018
The arts and cultural scene on the Gold Coast has undergone an evolution and Bleach* Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina has been a driving force behind the change. Bezzina created Bleach* in 2012 and the festival has been introducing and connecting the Gold Coast community with the arts ever since. Bezzina is part of the creative lead team for GC2018. Bleach* will run as part of Festival 2018, GC2018’s arts and culture festival.
P.V. Sindhu - Badminton
When she was eight, Pursala Venkata (P.V.) Sindhu travelled 56km each day to train at an internationally-acclaimed badminton academy in India. Her tenacity and drive has continued throughout her career and at 21, she became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal. Sindhu is aiming for the top spot at GC2018.