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This Girl Can: Sport taught me how to be organised

Oyenike Odewunmi (aka Nikki), 24, featured in the This Girl Can campaign by Sport England, encouraging more women to get into sport.

In school I was very very sporty. I was always known for athletics and netball, always the first one picked for any sport events.

I was very active and interested in every sport apart from football. For some reason I had two left feet and turned into a girlie girl when it came to kicking a ball.

At secondary school I did every sport and attended every sports meet.

I was also part of an athletics club, Cambridge Harriers, where I trained almost every day. I went on to study BTEC Sport in college and becoming part of the college sport team.

Passion for athletics

I have always been interested in sport but the fire ignited when I got to secondary school and got scouted by a coach during an athletics meet.

Aged just 11, I was very good at athletics and it came naturally. I did not have to try hard it was just second nature to me. 

This Girl Can

I was taking part in a zumba class when we were approached by couple of ladies who told us about the campaign.

They asked us how we exercised in our free time.

I did not expect this to be major for me as I was four months pregnant and did not think I would be centre of attention in the campaign.

The adverts are amazing and the response from the ladies who are trying to get back into exercise has just been really inspirational.

It is crazy to see how many people just need that little push and motivation.

How sport has helped me

Sport has helped me a lot. It’s not only kept me fit but also taught me some life skills, such as being organised.

As I did sports from such a young age, I learnt how to manage my time while juggling school work and training.

Now I am an adult, sport has been an amazing energy booster and helps my sanity.

This is especially true since having a baby, as the hour I get on a Wednesday to attend Zumba helps me to just be myself and get lost for a moment.

As a new mum it is okay to take a moment to let loose, and not worry about changing the baby or trying to keep the baby entertained.

Sport has given me a purpose to work hard and be a strong and fit mother for my family both physically and mentally.

Find a sport you love

You need to find something you love. Once you find it stick with it and gradually work at it.

Sometimes you have self-doubt or might be scared of embarrassing yourself but remember, there are lots of ladies who think like that, you just need to burst through that bubble and do it.

Find a mate, a family member, a colleague and all go together. That way you have people you know and trust and have fun with it.

Advice to my younger self?

I would love love love to get back into athletics.

At university I should have carried on pushing for the athletics club when people did not want to attend.

My advice to my younger self is to keep pushing and carry on with my sporting lifestyle.

Read more: How sport helped my confidence

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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