Female athletes unite in unique Women's Sport Trust programme

The athletes, including middle-distance runner and five-time British champion Laura Weightman, former England netballer with 114 caps Pamela Cookey and wheelchair racer and Paralympic medallist Kare Adenegan, join a community of 76 athletes who have been part of Unlocked since 2020

Last Updated: 21/04/22 7:45am

Pamela Cookey is one of the 35 female athletes to have joined the Women's Sport Trust programme

Thirty-five elite female athletes have come together to drive positive change within sport, as part of a unique programme created by the Women's Sport Trust.

The athletes, including middle-distance runner and five times British champion Laura Weightman, former England netballer with 114 international caps Pamela Cookey and wheelchair racer and Paralympic medallist Kare Adenegan, join a community of 76 athletes who have been part of Unlocked since its inception in 2020.

Now in its third year, the programme continues to bring people together to tackle the issues they're passionate about. From addressing visibility, commercial value, diversity and raising awareness of women's health issues, the areas the athletes care about are many and varied.

In addition to hockey, netball, rugby union and league, this year sees the inclusion for the first time of sports such as baseball, kitefoil racing and weightlifting.

Tammy Parlour MBE, CEO and Co-Founder of The Women's Sport Trust, says: "Unlocked gives us unparalleled access into both the challenges and opportunities that exist in women's sport. We are so lucky to hear directly from athletes about the issues they care about. And we know from feedback from our Unlocked alumni that they value the community this programme gives them as well as the chance to connect with like-minded individuals.

"As we reach the Women's Sport Trust's 10-year anniversary, we can reflect on how far women's sport has come. We want to change the face of all sport and by empowering the athletes on Unlocked, we hope that they feel able to make the changes they want within women's sport."

Other athletes in the group include triple Olympic athlete and swimmer Hannah Miley; The Sunday Times' Vitality Grassroots Sportswoman of the Year 2020 and rugby player Zainab Alema; weightlifter Mercy Brown; GB Skeleton athlete Tabby Stoecker and doctor and Bristol Bears rugby player Simi Pam.

Hannah Miley is looking forward to being part of the Unlocked programme

Swimmer Hannah Miley said: "I first represented GB at the age of 15 and since then, I've been to three Olympic Games and collected over 30 international medals. I made the difficult decision to retire at the end of 2021 but I don't want my journey in sport to finish. I'm looking forward to meeting like-minded individuals on the Unlocked programme and seeing what we can do to support younger female athletes."

Skeleton athlete Tabby Stoecker said: "I've only been competing as an elite athlete for a year so I feel I'm just at the start of my sporting journey. I know how lucky I am to have discovered sliding and my personal passion is to look at how we can support girls in accessing all sports throughout puberty and beyond."

  • In the past two years, the Unlocked athletes have achieved a lot:
  • Inspired to take action: ten athletes have set up their own organisations to address their passions
  • Understanding their influence: seven athletes have joined advisory groups and boards
  • Creating future leaders: four were appointed as athlete representatives in their sport
  • Empowered to speak out: dozens of athletes have spoken out about the issues they care about, from gender inequality in training facilities to racism in sport

Rugby union player Simi Pam is among the athletes who are part of the group

As part of the Unlocked group the athletes will access experts from across the sport, business and media worlds. The Women's Sport Trust hold workshops and opportunities to hear from industry insiders, as well as provide athletes with their own 'activator'. The activators are leaders in their field who will share their connections and experience to help the sportswomen tackle the issues and areas they feel passionate about.

To celebrate the launch of Unlocked, The Women's Sport Trust has released a short film, created by Glorious Sport. The film features Kare Adenegan, Zainab Alema, Mercy Brown, Pamela Cookey, Hannah Miley, Simi Pam, Tabby Stoecker and Laura Weightman.