Day 207: 30 September

“I am strong,” Chioma Onyekwere says before she steps into the ring. “I am powerful. I am explosive.”

It’s an affirmation for Onyekwere to prepare herself mentally during each performance. But there’s truth to it, too. The 29-year-old Nigerian discus thrower demonstrated her strength when she broke the African record earlier this season with a 64.96m throw that surpassed the qualification standard for the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 in August.

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Day 206: 29 September

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Day 205: 28 September

This month’s theme is Pathways – life after being an athlete. Sherone Simpson (JAM) talks to World Athletics about her personal experience in building her career after retiring from being a full-time athlete.

"It is very important for us to have an idea of the path or route we will take in achieving our goals and purpose in life. The path we may choose might not be straight and narrow, but we have to have that belief it will bring fulfilment.

"I knew that after athletics I not only wanted to be in a career that consistently increases my network or net worth but also brings me joy and peace. I wanted to be an influence on the younger generation in helping them on their journey to fulfilment and being the best version of themselves. Working in media was also a great interest of mine."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 204: 27 September

She’s run in an Olympic final; a world final. She’s won a world indoor medal; a Commonwealth Games medal. But for Bahamian sprint hurdler Devynne Charlton, the two biggest prizes in athletics have so far eluded her – close enough to reach but not quite grasp.

Devynne Charlton at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22


And so, as the 27-year-old looks to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23, her goal is simple. “I always like to elevate anytime I compete,” she says. “I was in a world final, so now I have to go and win a medal outdoors.”

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Day 203: 26 September

A pilot project undertaken to discover how female and male athletes are represented in search engine results has highlighted both the progress that has been made and the biases that still exist in the media coverage of female athletes.

As part of an International Women's Day pledge to World Athletics, global research, digital and creative agency Redtorch has studied search engine data, which directly impacts how discoverable athletes are to audiences around the world.

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Day 202: 25 September

While winning a global gold medal might be the pinnacle of the year – if not career – for many athletes, Beatrice Chebet remains motivated for another title to add to her ever-expanding CV.

Beatrice Chebet celebrates her win at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst


The world 5000m silver medallist became the world cross country champion in February, winning the senior women’s race and leading the Kenyan squad to the team title at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23. Now the 23-year-old has turned her attention back to the track as she plots her path to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 in August.

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Day 201: 24 September

Elina Tzengko is becoming used to making a mark on the big stage.

In Munich last summer, the then 19-year-old from Greece became the youngest ever athlete to win a European javelin title. It signalled the arrival of Tzengko on the senior stage as a major player in the women’s javelin, now and into the future.

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Day 200: 23 September

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Day 199: 22 September

Noelie Yarigo is no stranger to leading races.

It’s because she has primarily focused her efforts on being a pacemaker on the international racing circuit in recent years. The middle-distance runner from Benin has built up a reputation as one of the best in the business, and can often be seen at the front of the pack in 800m and 1500m races on the Wanda Diamond League and Continental Tour.

Yarigo has played a key part in many record attempts and world-leading performances by the biggest names in the sport over the past few seasons, and it has been a rewarding experience – both financially and in terms of satisfaction.

“It’s simple: I needed to earn a living,” she says. “By pacing, I earned some money to spend in my daily life. Running PBs is great, of course, but I’m also very keen on helping other athletes achieve superb performances.”

But when she joined Valentin Anghel’s training group last year, the Romanian coach persuaded Yarigo that she still has plenty of unfulfilled potential as a contender in her own right.

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Day 198: 21 September

When multiple Nigerian and African women’s 100m champion Endurance Ojokolo-Akpeki failed to make the final of her individual event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she made a promise to one day coach an athlete who would surpass her achievements by reaching that stage at the Games.

Athletics coaches on the IOC'S WISH programme


More than a decade and a half later, her athlete Usheoritse Itsekiri came close at the Tokyo Olympics when he raced in the semifinals of the men’s 100m. However, Ojokolo-Akpeki was not on the ground to provide the moral and emotional support needed because she wasn’t on the team at the event. Her story is similar to that of many other female coaches who desire adequate representation at elite level.

With less than 500 days to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the increase in the number of female athletes is set to propel the quadrennial Games towards gender equity. As such, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has begun the process of replicating a similar feat of adequate representation and equity for female coaches by launching a four-year programme tagged WISH – the Women in Sport High-performance pathway programme – which is being supported by USD 1 million in Olympic Solidarity funding.

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Day 197: 20 September

At the European Championships in Helsinki in 1971, two teenagers made the Norwegian team for the women’s 1500m. Grete Andersen, 17, finished eighth in her heat and failed to make the final. Ingrid Christensen, 15, got bumped off the track in her heat and failed to finish. The experience came as such a jolt she concentrated on her first sporting love, cross country skiing, for the next seven years.

Both crestfallen rookies were destined to make a name for themselves as trailblazing standard-bearers of the women’s marathon, in their married names.

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Day 196: 19 September

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Day 195: 18 September

Among the latest additions to the World Athletics Heritage collection which is displayed in the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) are the singlet and shoes worn by Valarie Allman when she won discus gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Her opening throw of 68.98m came before heavy rain forced a near-one hour delay in the event. No one, including Allman herself, could come close to that mark once the competition resumed, leaving her as the third US woman to win Olympic gold in the event, following in the footsteps of Lillian Copeland in 1932 and Stephanie Brown Trafton in 2008.

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Day 194: 17 September

Before the sun rises, two Venezuelan sisters wake up, prepare their breakfast – bread with ham and cheese and pink sauce, a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise – then embark on an hour-long drive to the track.

The Brea sisters are the Venezuelan duo competing in the 5000m at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. Joselyn Brea is the Ibero-American champion in the 5000m, and Edymar Brea is the South American champion over the same distance.

“Being with my sister at the World Championships makes it more special,” said Joselyn.

These sisters share the same passion: running.

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Day 193: 16 September

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Day 192: 15 September

Most people who know Italian middle-distance runner Sintayehu Vissa simply call her ‘Sinta’.

In both Italy and the US, people had trouble understanding her full name, and shortened it to make it easier.

But her full name, Sintayehu, in Amharic, loosely means: “I have seen many things”.

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Day 191: 14 September

Nikki Merrill (Undergraduate at Villanova University USA) talks about the female role models that have inspired her. 

"Growing up, many of my role models were professional athletes. I looked up to Shawn Johnson, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics; Alex Morgan, an American professional soccer player; and Alison Felix, the track and field Olympian. I watched all three on TV, cheered for them at games, and read about them in the magazines, as many girls across the country did."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 190: 13 September

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Day 189: 12 September

It was at an early age that a young sprinter from the parish of Saint Catherine in Jamaica garnered attention from around the world thanks to her eye-catching performances.

Meet Brianna Lyston, who has had her fair share of setbacks since her breakthrough season but is hoping to stamp her mark at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 in August.

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Day 188: 11 September

Imagine working for years towards a specific goal – that of competing at an Olympic Games – only to have it snatched away moments before it happens. 

Cyrena Samba-Mayela knows how that feels. 

The French sprint hurdler was warming up for her opening race at the Tokyo Olympics last year when she injured her hamstring, an old problem resurfacing at the worst time, forcing her to leave an absent lane on the track and a huge void in her heart.

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Day 187: 10 September

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Day 186: 9 September

Elisabetta Artuso, former national middle-distance runner and current FIDAL Council Member, is a coach and a sports manager;
and has a clear view of the way that the coaching system can become much more gender balanced. 

"Gender has nothing to do with the personal decision to embark on the journey to become a coach; but it definitely impacts on your activity when you are a coach."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 185: 8 September

For three years Faith Kipyegon had been ready to break the world 1500m record, says her coach Patrick Sang. 

That a week later she would then take down the 5000m mark too, well that wasn't in the plan. The Kenyan star has since added the mile record for good measure – taking it to 4:07.64 – and she believes that the four-minute barrier will one day be broken.

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Day 184: 7 September

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Day 183: 6 September

Allyson Felix has given so much to the sport of track and field over the course of a remarkable 19-year elite career. But such is the sprint legend’s humility, the sentiment is mutual.

“I feel like through the sport, I have found my purpose,” says the 21-time senior global gold medallist, currently midway through her farewell season.

“I think it took quite some time to get there, and it was such a journey, but it was going through those personal experiences that helped me find it. It has led me to what’s next and I think that’s why I do feel good and confident about where I’m at, because I know the next steps and I know that I am really passionate and excited about that as well. Sport has given me that.”

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Day 182: 5 September

In line with this month’s theme on “Improving Confidence”, leadership c
oach Gabriela Mueller shares her Busting Confidence Myths and How to Gain Confidence Every Day.

"I think that confidence is the willingness to try. Confidence is anchored in action, not thinking. Being willing to try even though we doubt ourselves, is the difference. Moving through our doubts, our fears, and our procrastination and perfectionism, the act of moving through that, it is what starts to build belief in ourselves.

"I like the definition of confidence as the willingness to try. It is the quiet belief that you can rely on yourself. Confidence is 100% skill, not a trait. It is not in our DNA. Confidence may increase or decrease in certain circumstances. It is a skill we will always be working on. When we face new challenges, new fears and doubts appear, and we work on our confidence again."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 181: 4 September

Kelsey-Lee Barber reacts to winning her second world javelin title in Oregon.

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Day 180: 3 September

This month’s theme is “Elective Success” and Donna Raynor, President of the Bermuda National Athletics Association for 12 years, shares her top tips. 

"This topic is very timely for me as I step down after 12 years as the President of the Bermuda National Athletics Association. Fortunately for me my position was never contested over a 12-year period. You may ask why, and I have my views and thoughts and I have put them in perspective and listed them below. What I do know is that on my departure, several persons have reached out to me local, international, athletes, officials, coaches including my Government officials congratulating me on a job well done and hoping that I am not leaving the sport.  I guess I did OK. This sport is my passion so I am not going anywhere."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 179: 2 September

The fifth edition of this World Athletics Championships coach series of the gender leadership podcast features Carole Bam, one of Belgium’s leading coaches.

Bam coaches several elite athletes, such as Cynthia Bolingo, Hanne Claes, Belgium’s women’s 4x400m squad and most recently Anne Zagre. A former international athlete for Cameroon, Bam represented her country in the 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m at events including the Olympic Games, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

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Day 178: 1 September

Celebrating some of the achievements of Jamaican sprint great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

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