Girls Go Gold at Wycombe Abbey

On Monday 12 September the School grounds were busy with sporting activities, talks and lectures as Wycombe Abbey hosted 26 schools and over 400 staff and pupils at the annual GSA Girls Go Gold conference. Girls from LV-UVI from schools across the GSA community were invited to take part in numerous sporting activities and attend lectures. Sixty Wycombe Abbey pupils attended the whole conference, but all pupils in LV-UVI were also invited to attend the keynote speakers.

Sue Anstiss, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Collective, gave an inspirational and thought-provoking talk on The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport; taking us through a brief history of women’s sport and posing questions that challenged the audience. Girls came away asking “Why?” “How?” and “what do we do next?”. Professor Greg Whyte, Olympian and Sports Scientist, examined some key physiological differences between men and women and how these differences impact athletes’ sporting potential and abilities. Greg also shared stories from his work with Comic and Sports Relief. He has assisted with 37 different challenges since 2006 and helped to raise over £60million for charity. A true inspiration for the pupils. Greg’s message to the girls was that nothing is impossible if you prepare well, train effectively and have the right support around you. Something that we strive to achieve at Wycombe Abbey for all our pupils and staff.

Away from the keynote speakers, pupils were treated to a carousel of practical activities and seminars which continued to challenge them in a range of skills and concepts.

  • Rocky Clarke MBE, the most capped England rugby player, led a rugby session that encouraged many pupils to try a new sport with many demonstrating excellent spatial awareness and coordination.
  • Lecturers from Bucks New University’s Sport Science department put athletes through their paces in a series of fitness testing using state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Mikki Austin, Head Coach and Player at Surrey Storm delivered a high-energy netball masterclass.
  • Phil Collier, Head Coach of England Lacrosse and Great Britain, taught a range of strategies that involve ‘the two-player game’ to outwit their opponents.
  • Chloe Hill, from Buckinghamshire Cricket, captured the girls’ imagination in a bowling workshop.
  • Alex Aljoe, TV presenter and reporter for Premier League TV, spoke to pupils about her journey in sports media and taught them a few tricks of the trade. Many pupils were inspired by her story and have delved deeper into the work of sports journalism.
  • Sarah Collin, who works with elite athletes and sports scholars at the University of Surrey to help them balance their academic studies and sporting commitments. She led the girls through a series of tasks posing questions for them to consider.

The conference closed with a panel discussion and questions from the audience. This part could have continued well into the evening with the girls eager to find out more from the experienced and impressive array of presenters. Questions were asked about the path taken to get into their current job role, what lessons they have learnt throughout their careers and what advice they would pass on to the next generation. One message that was repeated by all was that our pupils and this generation of female athletes have an exciting path ahead of them. Sport is changing; female athletes are receiving professional contracts, technology is developing, the need for sports scientists is ever expanding, equality in major sporting competitions is regularly being raised and discussions around clothing, figure and the female body are becoming more commonplace and accepted.

We were excited to host this event, and hope that this has inspired all the young women in our community to continue to develop their passion and love of all that sport has to offer.

Mrs Fiona Gee
Girls Go Gold Event Coordinator and Assistant Director of Sport

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