Reflections from a Great Girls Go Gold Conference
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Over 200 young sportswomen from across the country enjoyed an inspirational Northern Girls Go Gold Conference hosted at Bolton School Girls' Division. The conference focused on the many different careers paths that sport can take you down. The keynote speakers were Helen Glover, Olympic and World Champion rower and Jenny Meadows, European and World medallist at 800m and British indoor record holder. Tracey Neville, former England international, lead a netball workshop. Other presenters on the day included Victoria Cotton, BBC Sport Producer, Sonia Oxley of Reuters who spoke on sports journalism and Dr Lindsay Hill who led a seminar on podiatry. There were also four practical sessions run by University staff on sports and biomechanics testing, sports intervention, sports rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
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Below are some quotes from the day at Bolton School.
Helen Glover said: “You are not as old as you think you are. You really do need to believe in yourself and that you can do anything. At age 15 so many girls have decided on a particular sport or, worse still, no sport at all. You need to know that you can still change your options and your future. I did not get into rowing until I was 22!”
Helen Glover: “I have really enjoyed today and hope I have inspired girls to reach their dreams. I only wish such conferences had existed when I was their age!”
Tracey Neville: “Across the country, there is not enough sport in schools, particularly for girls and quite often facilities are not up to scratch – particularly changing rooms."
Addressing the audience, Jenny Meadows said: “You are all incredibly talented. Don’t set yourself any boundaries. Carry on, persevere and have no regrets.”
Jenny Meadows: “We need to build girls’ confidence in their teens so that they do not give up sport. Understandably, many take time out to do exams but I think London 2012 gave sport a real boost and because of Jessica Ennis and others, like Helen Glover, sport is seen as being cool again.”
Jenny Meadows: “For me, the secret of success is to persevere. There will be good days and bad days but you must battle on. The fact is anyone who puts the right amount of work in can be successful.”
Jenny Meadows: “It has been an amazing event and very insightful to learn what goes on behind the scenes too. All these inspirational woman here today have proven that if you believe in yourself and work hard you can achieve amazing things.”
Jenny Meadows: "You learn more from failure than from success.”
Kathryn Heatherington, Head of Sport, Bolton School Girls’ Division and organiser of the event, said: “It has been a wonderful day! The day has shown girls that they can go all the way and that there is more than one way to go.”
Jenny Eade, PE Teacher at Roedean: “It has been a really good day. The girls have been totally engaged throughout and have enjoyed learning about the different careers that sport can open up for you and have realised it is not just about becoming an athlete.”
Talking at lunch, Louise Hovland, St Dominic’s High School for Girls, said: “It has been a brilliant day. I really enjoyed Helen Glover this morning talking about how one minute she was watching Beijing and the next she is taking part in the London Olympics. She really made you believe anything is possible. It has been invigorating to hear stories from inspirational women that clearly love their jobs. What has also come across is that many have had to endure hardships to get to where they are today. I now look forward to listening to Jenny Meadows later in the day.”
Ellie Broome, Year 11 pupil at Bolton School and aspiring golfer, said: “Today has been very inspiring – especially the keynote speeches. It has been great fun too and I have learnt so much.”
Sue Hincks, Headmistress of Bolton School Girls' Division, said: "We are delighted to have welcomed so many girls from across the UK to take part in the GGG conference, entitled 'Where sport can take you'. Helen Glover and Jenny Meadows were uplifting key speakers, who inspired the girls to commit to their chosen sport. All of the sessions opened the girls' minds to the possibilities of a career in sports. We could not have asked for a more thought provoking day."