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Kwanieze John A model for women in sport
Despite a serious knee injury ruling her out of recent successes with the national team, women’s rugby standout Kwanieze John has been recognised for her achievements off the field when she was recommended for the community champion award at the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT) Spirit of Sport Awards (SOSA) nomination ceremony recently. A development officer at T&T Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) who used her title to revive the sport among school girls through the reintroduction of the secondary schools girls’ league this year, John, the TTRFU’s player of the year in 2007, will find out if she is champion when the annual award ceremony is held tonight. “If I win, I’ll see it as a win for the sport,” she said. “The win will help change the image of the sport, especially as my involvement focuses on the youth.” “However, If I lose, I would have taken the game to the forefront of things.”
Whether she wins or loses, the 24-year-old has made up her mind that sport as a career is both her present and future. Her passion is both youth in sport and women in sport. “Women’s involvement is a big thing for me. Everything I do I ensure that the young girls have as much opportunities as the boys.” John added, “I think our ladies need more role models in sport. So, any way I can help (I will attempt). You just (have to) let them know they’ve got to be confident, courageous and committed. It’s no walk in the park.” She has made this evident as her role as a volunteer with the T&T Olympic Committee, which she has aided in the body’s education department. She has been there since 2010 and said it would be difficult to express how much she has grown as an individual, administrator and educator in sport since joining the TTOC.
On the new-look girls’ rugby league which ran successful league and knockout tournaments late this year, John said she was not alone. “I’ve an incredible team of people that assisted with the programme and people who believe in the vision. For the past two years our coaches weren’t paid and they did it without asking or demanding anything. And, to have people loyal to that cause, I can’t thank them enough for their support.” She added, “Sport is my career and sometimes I believe that I don’t do myself justice financially by doing what I do, but I remind myself that I’m in it for the youth and their development because I’ve seen the impact that I make with those young ladies and men. Sometimes it’s surreal.” John is currently sidelined from action with an injury in her left knee which requires surgery. Granted it is successful, she is hoping to make a full return to her club, Royalians, which she was named player of the year for 2012, and for T&T, which has been on an impressive incline.
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