When we talk about women in sport, practical action needs to follow to make sure women are comfortable in muaythai. The Austrian federation is doing just that with a national gender programme.
At the last World Championships IFMA was proud to announce gender parity between the elite divisions, something it is hoped will continue as the women’s divisions continue to grow.
The ÖBFK in Austria works with muaythai and kickboxing, two sports where women faced similar challenges of acceptance in the past. A gender project started in 2015 is now showing fruit, with three more seminars running this summer.
Nicole Trimmel, retired Kickboxing champion who coached Nina Scheucher at the IFMA worlds in Cancun last month, says: “We want to make our sports more attractive for women, we want to teach them about the specialties in female body and training, we want to focus on mental training and strengthen their personality.”
In 2017 Austria was represented in both sports at The World Games 2017 in the women’s divisions. Sue Glassey, IFMA vice-president and head of the Female Commission says: ” I was lucky to spend a couple of hours catching up with Nicole in Cancun and am so impressed with the amazing work her and her team have been doing in Austria.
“The programmes she is running are helping our sisters build a strong sense of self-belief and creating a platform to empower them to help not only themselves but so many others around them. It is fantastic to see as more and more women take up the challenge to start creating positive social change in their home countries. ”
She added: “I hope that these amazing achievements inspire other women to start a project in their own home country. Start small and you will be surprised to see the difference you can make.”
Nicole says the federation wants to set up women like herself as a role-model for young girls to show them that pathways exist for women in combat sports. The project involves weekend sessions which are fully funded by the Sports Department of the Austrian government. The sessions are open to all women on the national teams.
Under the heading of “Stark Im Kopf, Stark im Sport” (Mental strength, sport success) the next three sessions feature well-known speakers from Austrian sport and the world of medicine as well as practical sports training from Nicole. Talks will include a focus on how the female body is affected by sport including athletic amenorrhoea.
For more information see OBFK