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Andy Murray & Football’s Lionesses Among Those Recognised as Key Contributors to Women’s Sporting Success

At a star-studded event in London this evening, the winners of the 2016 #BeAGameChanger Awards organised by the Women’s Sport Trust were announced. The awards, now in their second year, are designed to showcase the incredible talent from across women’s sport, and to highlight the need for media, sponsors and the public to invest at all levels. Tonight’s event was no exception, with winners and guests drawn from Olympians and Paralympians, World Cup Winners and World Record holders, as well as inspiring unsung heroes and heroines of regional initiatives. The following teams and individuals were recognised at the event:

  • Sporting Role Model – Andy Murray
  • Sporting Role Model – England Football Team (Lionesses)
  • Ambassador of Women’s Sport – Heather Bamforth
  • Sponsor partnership – Ricoh UK, Women’s Sport
  • NGB of the Year – British Rowing
  • Inspiring initiative (regional) – Women’s Climbing Symposium
  • Inspiring initiative (national) – parkrun UK
  • Media Initiative of the Year – BBC Women’s Sport Week
  • Journalist of the Year – Sarah Shephard
  • Imagery of the Year – Adidas #heretocreate campaign

The awards evening was hosted by sports journalist and broadcaster Reshmin Chowdhury, with a powerful keynote speech from John Amaechi, the high performance executive coach and the only Briton to have his NBA jersey ‘retired’ in the US Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jo Bostock, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust, said: “The public involvement in this year’s awards has been outstanding. Not only have we seen a huge increase in participation in terms of voting, but the conversation across social media has shown the huge appetite that exists for women’s sport.

“The Awards highlighted individuals such as Heather Bamforth, for her work with female cyclists, journalist and author Sarah Shephard, for her brilliant writing, as well as the innovative work of the Women’s Climbing Symposium. Andy Murray was rightly acknowledged for his active promotion of equality in sport, whilst British Rowing were rewarded for their leadership. All the winners and finalists demonstrate how sport has the power to accelerate gender equality, bring brand values to life and tell great stories.”

An expert panel of leading influencers in women’s sport decided the shortlists in early April. The panel included Anna Watkins, Andy Barrow, Connie Henry, Penny Briscoe, Samantha Taylor, Sally Hancock, Leon Mann, Liz Ellen and Joanna Manning-Cooper. A public vote followed, with over 70,000 votes cast for 65 nominations, representing a 250% increase on the voting in 2015.

Anna Watkins, panel member and a Patron of the Women’s Sport Trust, added: “Public engagement and involvement is key as we capitalise on the momentum behind women’s sport. Each year sees us benefit from progress and increased awareness – but it still requires ongoing investment, media attention and leadership for this to be sustainable. The Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards are at the forefront of this continued positive drive towards gender parity.”

The awards are organised by The Women’s Sport Trust, a charity that raises the visibility and increases the impact of women’s sport through the promotion of role models, increasing media coverage and improving funding. Alongside Microsoft, the 2016 awards have attracted sponsors including Barclays, Lloyd’s of London, Pinsent Masons and Travers Smith.

In describing himself, sporting role model winner Andy Murray said: “I’ve been called a feminist – and if being a feminist is making sure that a woman is treated like a man, then I’m OK with that. I don’t like seeing a coach underestimated because she’s a woman, or female players told they should be paid less. I believe in equality – I have seen discrimination in sport, it’s incredibly disappointing and we need to call it out when we see it.”

The next decade will be key in the future of women’s sport.

Follow us on twitter to get all the videos, photos and gossip from the event: twitter.com/WomenSportTrust