This award acknowledges individuals who have used sport to change their lives, and are willing to share their story to inspire others. The 2012 winner will be announced at the SPAR gsport Awards at the Wanderers Club on Tuesday.
gsport4girls Founder Kass Naidoo says: “We encourage women to write Personal Account stories for gsport because it is inspiring and it encourages women to follow their dreams. This award is aimed at individuals who are on their way to achieving their goals. It is a nudge in the right direction.
“Our previous winners have been surprised how winning this award has boosted their careers.”
There have been three winners in this category since its inception in 2008. Tennis umpire Mpho Makhoba was the 2008 winner followed motorsport stars Clare Vale and Fabienne Lanz in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
For Vale winning the award gave her the opportunity to grow her brand “Winning the Personal Account Writer award really helped me to raise my profile. Not only that, it also gave me a great confidence boost and encouraged me to do much more towards getting my name out there with pride!” she says.
“The actual Awards function gave me the opportunity to network and share experiences with many of our top local sportswomen. The publicity I garnered when I won the Award was extremely helpful, and I made excellent contacts with various members of the press and other media, many of whom I have stayed in contact with ever since.”
Vale, who was the first woman to get a podium place in the National V8 Supercar Series in her RAM V8 Mustang where she came third overall in 2010, is now also participating in the National SupaDrift series and is also the Chairperson of Women in Road Safety.
She has a passion for raising the profile for women in sport. “It’s really up to you to get out there and be proactive! Write press releases, get featured in all your local media to start with and build from there,” she advises.
“South Africa has such a strong culture of rugby, soccer and cricket taking the lion’s share of both sponsorship and publicity. Sportswomen need to do something really special in order to achieve a profile on a level with top sportsmen. Team sponsorships for women’s sports, such as the SPAR sponsorships, go a long way towards uplifting our ladies to the point where they can achieve results, but it’s still very tough for them to find funding. We need more publicity and recognition not only in the media, but also at government level.”
“Even if you don’t always have great results, share your experiences in the form of a blog – people relate to your struggle. Set up a simple website if you can, create a facebook page and give yourself a twitter presence. Social media has given us all a platform from which to be heard, so make use of it.”
“The benefits of a forum such as gsport should not be underestimated, as sportswomen always have access to the website when they have news to share, and there is also a strong twitter feed and facebook page following,” she says.
Her other passion is raising funds for nature conservation and she and her RAM Racing Team support the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. “We raised R30, 000.00 for the Centre at our recent karting day!” she says proudly.