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Elite female athletes back major new women’s sport initiative

Steph Gilmore, Sam Kerr, Bronte Campbell, Alyssa Healy, Jess Fox, Minjee Lee, Caitlin Bassett, Jenna O’Hea, Ellia Green, Katie Brennan and Kim Brennan support: #WISPAA – Women in Sport Photo Action Awards

Australia’s top female athletes have added their considerable muscle to support a major, new national initiative launched today by Women Sport Australia (WSA). WSA, the peak national advocacy body for women in sport, is proud to launch #WISPAA – Women in Sport Photo Action Awards, supported by Nikon.

WSA has launched #WISPAA to generate greater recognition and respect for the skill, strength and athleticism of Australian women actively participating in sport.

“We want to help increase the visibility of sportswomen in the media and the public and help ensure female athletes are portrayed as tough, fit competitors, role models, heroes and leaders,” WSA Communications Director Louise Evans said.
“WSA is proud so many great female athletes are getting behind #WISPAA and we hope the media and public will too by entering award-winning photographs of Australian sportswomen in action.”
 #WISPAA has two award categories – one for professional photographers and one for amateur photographers who can submit up to three photos of Australian sportswomen in action to WSA’s dedicated #WISPAA website  – to win prizes supplied by Nikon.
 To qualify, the photos submitted must show an Australian sportswoman or sportswomen aged over 18 actively participating in sport at any level in Australia. The sport can be amateur or professional. Judges will favour photos that depict the athleticism, strength and the skill of a woman or women aged over 18 participating in sport.
 Entry is online via the website:

 The #WISPAA website will go live on Wednesday, January 9 at 0500.  Entries close on April 30.
 Here’s what 11 of Australia’s top female athletes say about #WISPAA
 (Athletes listed alphabetically)
Caitlin Bassett, two-time world netball champion and Diamonds national netball team captain
“Elite female athletes are incredibly fierce and strong competitors who never leave anything on the field of play. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the entries for the #WISPAA Women in Sport Photo Action Awards that will show the athleticism and determination Australian female athletes display every time they play their respective sports. This is a fantastic initiative that will really increase the visibility of women’s sport.”
Katie Brennan, captain of AFLW premiership winning Western Bulldogs
“There is a need to showcase the strength, skill and athleticism of our amazing Australian sportswomen to create strong, body positive role models for young women to show what it possible. The beauty of female athletes is they come in all shapes and sizes depending on their sport. This shows young women that no matter how you are made up, you are beautiful, strong and powerful. We should continue to empower women with the message that “strong is beautiful!
 The benefit of portraying female athletes as tough, fit and active participants is that it sets a positive example for young women of all ages and promotes physical activity. It is so important for young women to stay engaged in physical activity due to the amazing physical, mental and social benefits it brings.”

Kim Brennan, Olympic and two-time world rowing champion
“This is a tremendous initiative which will continue the shift towards greater recognition of women and girls as fit, strong participants in sport rather than passive observers. Being strong, fit and healthy should be celebrated and role modelled.”
Bronte Campbell, Olympic and three-time world swimming champion
“#WISPAA is a great opportunity to look at female athletes and how incredibly fit, tough, strong, flexible and athletic they are. It’s a chance to showcase the versatility of their bodies, how they have honed and channelled their natural gifts into the sport where they excel. Women in sport aren’t smiling fitness models, they are gladiators.”
Jess Fox, nine-time world canoe slalom champion
“I support #WISPAA because it promotes women’s sport and will help make it more visible. Women’s sport is on the rise and it’s important that young girls and boys in particular see it. For too many years the female stereotype was for women to be slim and beautiful. That stereotype needs to change. Strong, fit women are beautiful. Their fit, strong, healthy resilient bodies – created through hard work, training and competition – are beautiful. We want girls and women to aspire to that strong body image and to have the physical and mental confidence that comes with being fit and strong to take on any challenge.”
Steph Gilmore, seven-time world surfing champion
“A large section of most iconic and inspiring images in the world are of athletes. I find images of athletes living purely in their raw moment the most captivating. The strength, athleticism and emotion that are captured in great action photos are incomparable. Now more than ever, we are in a time where we need to see more images of strong, elegant, courageous women. It is awesome Nikon has chosen to support Women Sport Australia’s #WISPAA competition. I’m excited to see the upcoming entries.”
Ellia Green, Olympic champion and Commonwealth Games rugby sevens silver medalist
“I think this is a fantastic initiative from Women Sports Australia and it will go a long way to promote the growth of women’s sport through photography. Sports photography is a great way to capture the great moments. It takes fans closer to the action and it can be shared across social media. This is crucial in inspiring the next generation to pick up a ball and play. #WISPAA will also help recognise the fantastic photographers we have in Australia who work hard to capture women’s sport.”
Alyssa Healy, Four-time world T20 cricket champion, two-time Ashes champion and ICC T20 International Player of the Year 2018
“This is a fantastic initiative and a great opportunity to see female athletes in action, which unfortunately we do not get to see in the media too often. To be able to see our athleticism, strength and concentration allows the public to better connect with female athletes – instead of having to picture in their minds how we compete!”

Sam Kerr, Matilda’s national football team key striker, Young Australian of the Year 2018, two-time Australian Women’s Footballer of the Year and ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Best International Women’s Soccer Player 2018
“Supporting women in sport is very important to me. Australia has come a very long way in promoting female sport’s participation and getting behind female teams from various sporting codes. But there is still a lot of room for growth, which is really exciting. Women Sport Australia has been instrumental in this success and with the launch of #WISPAA it’s great to see WSA recognising both professional and non-professional women in sport.”
Minjee Lee, Australia’s top golfer ranked world No6 with four LPGA Tour victories
“There’s no better way for young women and girls to take their next sporting steps, at all levels, than by aspiring to approachable role models. For me, access to a legend such as Karrie Webb was vital and I’m certain that we’ll have a wave of new Aussie sporting champions if our young girls continue to see women portrayed positively through initiatives like Women Sport Australia’s #WISPAA competition. We’re a great sporting nation and for generations our heroes have predominantly been men because they’ve had the exposure. With so much progress being made with elite female competitions in so many sports, it’s really important that young Aussie girls have their own heroes to follow, mimic and hopefully eventually surpass. By seeing our top female athletes promoted broadly as aspirational characters, we’ll take important steps in making that happen for the next wave.”
Jenna O’Hea, World and Commonwealth Games basketball champion, Opals national basketball team captain and WNBL Boomers captain
  “You can’t be what you can’t see. It’s important, especially for young girls in particular, to have role models and to see them in action, playing and excelling at their chosen sport. The choices and opportunities for girls and women in sport continue to grow, but there is still a drop-off at a certain age and this is a barrier we need to break down. Showing our elite level female athletes as tough, fit and active participants will help encourage younger athletes to continue working hard and aiming to reach their goals.”
For more information:

WSA Communications Director Louise Evans
0401 704 379 and
The #WISPAA website will be go live Wednesday January 9 at 0500.

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