3 April 2014
This weekend over 50 officials from more than 20 countries will attend the second annual Women in World Athletics Seminar (WIWA). The seminar is being held in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, and is hosted by British Athletics and European Athletics.
The initiative, which forms part of the British Athletics Annual Officials Conference where an additional 230 officials will be in attendance, was a key part of the bid for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London in 2017, and has been designed to develop the legacy of women's leadership and officiating in athletics, in preparation for the Championships, as well as increase the involvement of women in sport at all levels and in all fuctions and roles.
Following the success of the first ever WIWA seminar in April 2013, which featured the likes of Olympic 400m bronze medalist Katharine Merry and explorer Rhona Cant, this year sees the second of four annual seminars which are partnered by UK Sport and the IAAF Regional Development Centre.
Speakers this weekend will include:
Baroness Sue Cambell, Chairwoman of UK Sport
Christine Coupland, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Loughborough University
Sylvia Barlag, Chair of European Athletics Women's Leadership Working Group
Cherry Alexander MBE, British Athletics Major Events Director, believes that WIWA can go from strength to strength as the seminar enters its second year.
She said: "Last year's inaugural WIWA seminar was a huge success and we're now in the second year of the five year programme as we build towards the 2017 IAAF World Championships and IPC Athletics World Championships in London.
"Our intention is to utilise the women who come through this programme at those championships and WIWA is therefore a vital part of our preparations for such an important year. As WIWA continues to grow we hope to be able to extend the opportunity to more and more countries.
"There are huge benefits to be gained from working closely with the IAAF, European Athletics and UK Sport and we thank them for their support. In particular, our partnership with European Athletics allows us to work alongside their Women's Leadership Awards work which is complimentary to WIWA."
European Athletics President Hansjörg Wirz agrees that the work of the programme is extremely important.
He said: "We are pleased to again be working with British Athletics, the IAAF and other great partners on the second Women in World Athletics seminar. We hope the seminar contributes to the development of the next generation of women competition officials and club leaders. We are sure some of the participants will be recognised in the future through our Women's Leadership Awards that celebrate the important contributions made by women in our sport."
Sunday 6 April will also see the 11th British Athletics Officials' Conference take place at the same venue. The conference will focus around the legacy of London 2012 and will include a presentation from guest speaker Hannah Cockroft, who won double gold in the London 2012 Paralympics.
The Women in World Athletics Seminar runs from Friday 4 April to Monday 7 April. For further information on officiating visit http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/officials/