Hats off to courageous ladies for taking on bigger roles in sports

IT’S rare to hear women participate in motorsports and what’s more to own a team.

So that’s why, it was refreshing to see a Malaysian woman getting involved in two-wheel motorsports this year.

Youtuber-turned-racer Nur Atikah Azwar has set up Tuneboss-Pink Racing team not only because of her passion for racing but also with a dream to develop women riders and mechanics in a sport dominated by men.

This weekend, Atikah’s team rider – CP125 rookie Siti Norafizah Muhamad will rev off at Sepang International Circuit aiming to finish among the top-10 in the Petronas Malaysia Cub Prix Championship. And I believe, it’s a task, which is possible to achieve.

Atikah herself raced in the Cub Prix Pro-Am class last year.

Having tasted for herself the spills and thrills of the sport, Atikah has taken upon herself to expand women’s involvement in the sport.

I salute her for her boldness and single-minded determination to make a difference and paving way for others to pick up a bike and race without having to deal with stereotype, cultural barriers and various challenges.

The Malaysian sports scene can do with encouraging more women like Atikah to get into sports management positions too.

Women are still under-represented when it comes to coaching and managing sports bodies compared to the men.

It is a prevalent problem not just in the country but even in the United States where a study show that women make up less than 30 per cent of youth sport coaches.

There is a 25 per cent quota for putting women in sports associations here but we should not just be filling in positions based on gender. Whether male or female, they should be considered for top sports administrative positions if they are good.

Prof Datuk Dr S. Shamala is an example of a capable woman who is serving as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) vice president.

Shamala, an academician, has vast experience in sports administration spanning more than two decades.

There is also OCM women and sport committee chairman Datuk Mumtaz Jaafar.

Mumtaz lit up track and field athletics in the seventies and then turned to sports administration, becoming the first woman to be elected deputy president of the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF).

Former OCM secretary general Datuk Low Beng Choo is also serving as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) general secretary.

She is also the only woman chef-de-mission, getting the honour to lead the contingent in the 2005 SEA Games in Philippines.

Former national runner Noraseela Khalid is also heading the Malaysian Olympians Association (MOA) as its first woman president.

One thing these women sports leaders will agree on is to see more former women athletes stepping forward to contribute to sports associations.

Women in the administrative positions, especially those who are married, find it harder as they have to deal with family matters at the same time. But there are many who have proven that they can juggle between the many roles they have and still be a good administrator.

Perhaps it is time for OCM to consider picking a suitable woman to lead the contingent in the next Commonwealth Games or Asian Games?

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