The International Canoe Federation is thrilled to have four participants at this week’s Women in Sport High Performance Pathway (WISH) leadership program in the United Kingdom this week.

Mexico’s Adriana Valderrama Morones, South Africa’s Bridgitte Hartley, Hungary’s Sara Timea Seprenyi and Chinese Taipei’s Sherry Chen have all been nominated by their national federations and the ICF and are being sponsored by the IOC and their continental associations to attend the important leadership and coaching conference.

They will be the first ICF participants in the 21-month program, which will include a five-day residential program being run at the University of Hertfordshire. The program will also feature online leadership sessions, leadership mentor sessions, and sport-specific mentor sessions.

The WISH program has been designed to equip women coaches who have the potential and ambition to succeed as elite coaches in their sports.

The ICF has identified the four participants as future global leaders for the sport of canoeing, with a role to encourage more women to take up coaching and to take on mentoring roles to help increase the number of women Olympic coaches.

ICF vice-president Cecilia Farias said the four ICF participants represent an exciting new generation of women canoe sport coaches.

“We have made great progress as a sport to gender equity among our athletes, but we need to see more women taking on the role of coaching,” Dr Farias said.

“Adriana, Bridgitte, Sara and Sherry have already made their marks on our sport. It’s exciting they have now accepted the challenge of becoming leaders and mentors for future generations of women.

“Change won’t happen overnight, but we have a fantastic quartet of women who will benefit greatly from this exciting WISH program, and that will flow on to our sport at all levels.

Just ten per cent of accredited coaches at the Olympic Summer and Winter Games over the past decade have been women. To help address the issue Olympic Solidarity is investing USD 1 million in the WISH program.

Over the 21 months the four canoe participants will have access to leadership training, sport-specific training and mentoring by the ICF, as well as engagement with National Olympic Committees.

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