Day 268: 30 November

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Day 267: 29 November

This month we are showcasing Estefania Senestrari, from Argentina, who has invested her life in athletics since she was 12 years old, as an athlete, and today as a coach, Gender Committee president and Gender Leadership moderator.

Athletics has forged the person I am today. My purpose in life is to generate changes in people’s lifestyle and develop athletes, in this way I always try to be a role model for them. Being a female coach is not easy, but when the pathway is hard I always think that if I can, a lot of women will try too. ‘’We never know who we are inspiring’’

Being a moderator of the Gender Leadership programme has been a big challenge where I have known myself more, I have learned from each of the participants in the seminars and I understand the importance of being a role model and how emotional intelligence is the key of my work.

I will take a quote from my fellow Gender Leadership moderator, Noelia Caicedo, she always uses it to finish seminars ‘’When one of us takes a step all of us move forward’’

My greatest motivation is the challenge, the challenge to manage more than 150 runners each one with their personal goals, see how they improve themselves and they change their lifestyle and work to be better. On the other hand I have my athletes, they are a constant challenge. I have worked with some of them since they were 4 or 5 years old and nowadays they are teenagers who are classified into provincial, national and international tournaments. Being part of the development of an athlete is my passion.

At least I want to take one characteristic of each person who inspires my life. I work every day to develop those characteristics in me to turn into the person who I want to be, my mom’s self-knowledge, my dad’s simplicity, my boyfriend’s charisma, my brother’s determination, my sister’s sensibility and my coach’s knowledge.

I always say that athletics has a plan for each one, it is a sport where each body is perfect for some of the events, it is a sport that allows you to learn each day, to develop you as an athlete and as a person, a sport where men and women find a place to train together, to compete in the same tournaments, to share together.

The most important thing about athletics is the person you will build in the process to achieve your goal.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 266: 28 November

School exam results and personal best running times recorded by a group of refugee athletes are how Kenya’s 2007 world 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei measures her success these days.

For just over a year, Jepkosgei has been head coach of the U20 World Athletics Athlete Refugee Team (ART) based at a resettlement camp located around 100km from the South Sudan border in east Africa. A woman-driven programme, it is led by Swiss educator Barbara Moser-Mercer with Jepkosgei as head coach, supported by coach Arcade Arakaza, himself a refugee from Burundi.

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Day 265: 27 November

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Day 264: 26 November

We finish our short series this month with Allyson Felix.

Allyson Felix is an American sprinter known for being the most decorated track and field athlete - male or female - of all time. She has won a record number of twenty medals at the World Championships, as well as another eleven medals at the Olympics. While Felix has broken many records, she has also broken many barriers.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 263: 25 November

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Day 262: 24 November

By 6:30am, Nadia Battocletti is typically out the door, logging her first run. There aren’t many distance runners at her level who need to commit 10 hours a day to education, but the 23-year-old Italian is one of them – her classes in engineering and architecture at the University of Trento start at 8:30am and finish at 6:30pm.

It’s a workload that requires a disciplined, monastic lifestyle and, after several years of that routine, Battocletti is ready for a change.

“Yes, really,” she laughs. “I studied for five years in university so now I’m like, ‘please stop,’ so I can finally be a professional athlete.”

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Day 261: 23 November

When confirmation finally arrived that Annette Purvis had become the first ever elected Kiwi female member of the World Athletics Council – she admits to feeling a momentary panic.

On a large screen at the 54th World Athletics Congress in Budapest last month all 23 candidates for 13 elected positions – complete with total number of votes – were beamed down, although Annette initially struggled to identify her name.

“I went down to the middle of the list and then towards the bottom and I couldn’t see my name,” she says. “I had Cam Mitchell (Athletics NZ CE) and Cameron Taylor (Athletics NZ Board Chair) shaking my hand saying, ‘well done, you’ve done it.’ I’m saying ‘what do you mean, I can’t see my name?’ They said you need to look towards the top rather than the bottom.”

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Day 260: 22 November

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Day 259: 21 November

Many athletes would be more than happy after running down Sifan Hassan in the final stretch of a major final to lead their nation to a podium sweep. But when Gudaf Tsegay did so in the 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last month, she thought her job was only partially complete.

Gudaf Tsegay after breaking the world 5000m record in Eugene

Most athletes would be delighted with one medal, especially if it’s gold. Tsegay wanted two.

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Day 258: 20 November

The final season of anyone’s athletic career is filled with many "lasts". There is the last track workout and the last gym session, then there is the last warmup and the last race, and then there is the last cooldown and the last drive back to the locker room. Then just like that, it is over, and life after being an athlete begins.

This transition can bring a wide range of feelings for those who experience it. There can be feelings of happiness or excitement, ambivalence or uncertainty, sadness or bittersweetness, and there can also be feelings of complete relief. Many, though, will feel a mix of feelings, and for others, it may even be hard to identify exactly how they feel.

After crossing the line of my final high school race, for example, I remember feeling tremendous relief. At the same time, I was also really proud of the race we had run that day and of what we had achieved throughout high school as a whole, AND I was also excited to move onto track and cross country in college. It was a whirlwind of feelings.

I continued to competitively run in college but I also began to increasingly think and prepare for life after being an athlete. My life after being an athlete has been shaped in college by the majors I have chosen, as well as the clubs I have joined, and the jobs and internships I have taken on. My life after being an athlete has also been shaped by the friendships and relationships I’ve built in college.

I plan to continue running on my own after graduating this spring. Running is how I connect with myself, others, and nature. It brings me a sense of joy, happiness, and empowerment. It is also usually my favorite part of the day. For these reasons, I envision myself running for as long as I can, even though it will undoubtedly look different than it has in the past. My relationship to running will always be growing and evolving.

Other people have different experiences with life after being an athlete though. Some people cross that finish line for the final time and decide they never want to run again. Some people take a break and pick it up later. Some people continue running and just develop a new relationship with it. And some people decide to take up another sport altogether. The options are endless, but one thing is clear: there are so many ways to go about life after being an athlete.

Article by Nikki Merrill (Undergraduate at Villanova University USA).

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 257: 19 November

Anxiety, by Kendall Ellis:

"Anxiety is not the same thing as nerves. It is not butterflies in your stomach. It is all-consuming. Debilitating. Paralyzing. Crippling.

Two days before my opening round at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, I was wracked with so much anxiety, I was paralyzed in bed — I physically could not move or get up for a few torturous minutes. Trapped under the sheets, I realized this was probably the most severe my anxiety had ever been. Anxiety is mental, but makes itself known physically."

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Day 256: 18 November

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Day 255: 17 November

Athletics is lauded as one of the few sports where men and women compete on a level playing field, and now behind-the-scenes women are starting to overcome the myriad hurdles that have prevented them from running the sport.

It took almost 100 years for female athletes to match the men in being able to compete in the same arena in an equal number of disciplines and for the same prize money at major championships.

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Day 254: 16 November

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Day 253: 15 November

Aleia Hobbs has an instant response when asked for the message she would give her younger self: “Keep going”.

Aleia Hobbs at the 2019 World Athletics Relays in Yokohama


The 27-year-old has been sprinting for almost two decades and despite being hit with some setbacks between her many successes, she refused to give up. The signs have always been there, and now – happy and healthy – she’s in the form of her life.

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Day 252: 14 November

New Zealand athletics icon Dame Valerie Adams has been elected as World Athletics Athletes’ Commission chair following the first meeting of its membership this week.

The double Olympic shot put gold medallist and eight time world champion (four outdoors and four indoors) is serving her third term on the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission. In 2019 she was elected as deputy chair.

The election of Dame Valerie further cements her rising influence in global athletics. She also currently serves as chair of the Oceania Athletics Athletes’ Commission and was formerly chair of the Athletics NZ Athletes’ Commission.

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Day 251: 13 November

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Day 250: 12 November

2023 Women's World Athlete of the Year nominees.

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Day 249: 11 November

Janeth Jepkosgei discusses with her transition from running to coaching, a rare move for female athletes in Kenya. Jepkosgei is enjoying her journey and recently led the World Athletics Refugee Team at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. 

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Day 248: 10 November

In a year when Faith Kipyegon set three world records on the track – in the 1500m, mile, and the 5000m – it can be easy to overlook other performances.

Hirut Meshesha, Diribe Welteji and Freweyni Hailu


But close behind the great Kenyan are a cadre of Ethiopian women who, despite not having gripped the event’s attention, have accomplished some remarkable accolades while also displaying superb versatility.

Of the eight fastest women in the world this year at 1500m, five of them are Ethiopian. And three of those – Diribe Welteji, Freweyni Hailu and Hirut Meshesha – have been selected to represent Ethiopia in the road mile at the World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23 on 1 October.

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Day 247: 9 November

Life after being an athlete can be both exciting and daunting. Fortunately, there are many career options available for former athletes who want to continue to be involved in athletics. While coaching and sports administration are obvious options, there are also many helping professions that are vital for strengthening an athlete's support network. Nikki Merrill (Undergraduate at Villanova University USA) looks at some of these helping professions.

Sports Psychology
studies how psychological factors influence physical activity and athletic performance. Sports psychologists help athletes use psychological principles and skills to strengthen motivation, anxiety management, teamwork, etc. in order to improve both mental wellbeing and athletic performance.

Registered Dietitians who specialise in sport dietetics apply evidence-based nutrition practices to exercise and sports. Sports dieticians assess, educate, and guide both competitive and noncompetitive athletes in achieving optimal nutrition, wellbeing, and performance. They may address athletes’ caloric intake and expenditure, nutritional and herbal supplements, hydration, weight management, disordered eating, gastrointestinal disturbances, allergies and intolerances, etc.

Physical Therapists specialise in using massage, heat treatment, stretching routines, and strengthening techniques to treat injuries and diseases. Physical therapists help athletes rebuild strength and movement after injuries while also helping athletes manage pain and prevent future injuries. Physical therapists often serve as an athletes' first line of defense and connect athletes to higher level care when necessary.

There are many other helping professions in athletics, including massage therapists, strength coaches, and orthopedic surgeons. These professions strengthen a current athlete's support network and are also often highly satisfying and rewarding for the former athlete. Do any interest you?

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 246: 8 November

World Athletics will take a significant number of new steps towards gender equity in our sport in 2023, including 40% female representation on the World Athletics Council.

These steps are outlined in a series of new and impactful pledges – published in celebration of International Women’s Day – which include implementing individual safeguarding policies in each of our 214 Member Federations, and the extension of our Ukraine Solidarity Fund – enabling dozens of female Ukrainian athletes to take part in World Athletics Series events.

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Day 245: 7 November

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Day 244: 6 November

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Day 243: 5 November

As great athletes approach their 30th birthday, their minds naturally turn towards their legacy.

That has clearly been the case for Faith Kipyegon, who completed her set of the highest accomplishments in her sport by breaking the world 1500m record (3:49.11) at the Golden Gala meeting in Florence on Friday (2).

She joked that she had rolled around the track like “a crazy woman” in a euphoric reaction when she saw her historic time pop up on the trackside clock at the Wanda Diamond League meeting. “I really wanted that one,” she said.

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Day 242: 4 November

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Day 241: 3 November

Each month the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook showcases an inspirational woman and the first post was with Jaya Mylvaganam, International Starter (SGP)

Jaya has a zest for athletics that is evident in her voice on the track and field scene. Her dedication to the sport gained her more than 30 years of experience officiating local and regional meets to Asian Games. As described in an article on The Straits Times, Jaya is ‘a greying (official) with a starting pistol, telling the sporting world she calls the shots.’

My Favourite Quote: ”Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

My Hero: Mother Teresa

My Motivation: Do your utmost best in every little thing.

Most important thing in athletics to me: To officiate every competition with integrity and fairness.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 240: 2 November

No story about Fanny Blankers-Koen winning four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympic Games is complete without describing the Dutchwoman as a mother of two.

And while that is applauded today, it wasn’t universally accepted at the time.

Nicknamed ‘The Flying Housewife’, the 30-year-old was actually chastised for leaving her young children in Amsterdam while she and husband Jan Blankers, who was also her coach, went to London.

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Day 239: 1 November

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