Female coaches discuss their experiences in the sport at WISH course ahead of IWD • World Triathlon
At the end of February, 31 coaches from 21 nations and 9 different sports came together in North London for the Olympic Solidarity funded WISH course. It was the second week-long event of its kind designed to give more women the tools to rise to the top of high-performance coaching, and once again World Triathlon coaches were on hand to benefit from expert guidance. As part of the International Women’s Day 2023, they shared some of their experiences on the way to High Performance Coaching.
Among the coaches was Anne Anderson, a former Swedish elite triathlete-turned-coach and now responsible for the Swedish Olympic Committee’s Project Q at the Physical Education College, in which triathlon is a central part. As the only female coach at the age of five, Annie felt the lack of women when she competed.
“The sport was a lot of travel, I had a bit of an eating disorder issue and wasn’t feeling well when I quit in 2011. I’ve had a lot of great coaches, but I think it would have been a lot better if I understood more female coaches and asked questions. It was really tough, but I learned a lot from my own experiences to incorporate into my coaching. You have to see the whole person to get the results – sleeping, eating, taking care of well-being, not just what’s going on during training.”
Ozenc Aygun represented Turkey on the course and was keen to take as much as possible home and pass on to those who, like her, have ambitions to train at the Olympics.
“I want to work with more people around the world and have a lot to offer them and share my knowledge as a performance coach. Our NF has a good vision of how we can grow together and I am grateful to them and thankful that I am on this course.”
A former professional triathlete turned coach, Tine Decker joined the Belgian coaching staff in 2019 and became an elite coach in January, guiding the country’s athletes on the WTCS course.
“In Belgium we have justice, but there are fewer women willing to take on the travel and 24/7 lifestyle. I had to think about that when I took the job. My son is 10 now, he has called me three times this week because he misses me and it hurts you know. I feel like the athletes are happy to now have a woman on the team to take care of them, but as an athlete I’ve never missed that.”
Carolina Mora was nominated by the Costa Rican Federation to take the WISH course for her 15 year dedication to the art of coaching and knowledge sharing.
“This experience will work for us and empower more women to follow us into coaching,” she says. “It was nice to be around people who share my experiences, even those from ‘more powerful’ countries who have been going through the same challenges. We women sometimes don’t speak up and don’t have many role models, so it’s not easy to grow from that.”
Eleanor Condor is part of the World Triathlon Mentor Program and works full time on the development team at Triathlon Ireland, a division where women outnumber men 6:1 and where progressive solutions are at the heart of the federation.
“Under the guidance of Anna Grealish we have had tremendous progress in women in sport in general but especially in coaching which has so many opportunities, dedicated courses for women, the New To Tri program and the opportunity to mentor other coaches as well ‘ said Condor. “The big lesson from the course is that all women face the same barriers and I’ve never felt more comfortable talking about it, but now I know the support networks are out there to help overcome the barriers . Now I have some tools to be the leader and not just follow.”
“The program is fantastic, but why do we even need them? As more women become empowered, it becomes more natural to be treated fairly and equally.”