LADIES IN SPORTS 2016: Who Does It Better?
“Serena Williams did not get to where she is today overnight. She was consistent and she had the right team.”
Those words from Bukky Karibi-Whyte, set the tone for the first-ever edition of the Ladies in Sports conference, which held on Friday 17 (last week). This wasn’t your regular women’s hang-out. On the contrary, it was a conference dedicated to women in sports, with a gorgeous blend of business, heels and athleticism.
Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medallist in 1996, Miss Chioma Ajunwa, veteran athlete, corroborated earlier comments made as she said, “To be good at what you do, hard work isn’t all that is needed.” She also added that, “you need to [learn] do things before you are told to do them,” as she directed her words at the young ladies on the occasion.
Mrs. Karibi-Whyte, a public relations expert and CEO of The Bobby Taylor Company, stressed the need for sportswomen to create a voice for themselves across existing social media channels with a view to promote their image and attract sponsors. “Devote yourself to social media channels that express what you are doing”, said Karibi-Whyte.
What seemed to resonate more among participants, was the idea of athletes being better role models than music or movie celebrities. Championed by Miss Ajunwa, who held the belief in her argument that, sportswomen – and men – are less controversial and better role models than their counterparts in the music or movie industries.
That notion was brilliantly dispelled by Mrs Karibi-Whyte who said “For brands, it’s not about sentiments. It’s business. There is a psychology involved.” She went on to ask the listening audience who they will sponsor between a music celebrity with five million followers on a social media platform and a sportswoman with few hundred followers. That shouldn’t be difficult to choose.
It is crystal clear that sports in Nigeria lacks a business structure with everybody looking to be more reliant on government for sustenance. This has made many sportsmen – and women – lazy and less creative while the industry has been left to several charlatans to administer its affair. Even more, the sports industry for long years, has become less attractive for other industry professionals like Mrs Karibi-Whyte, to get involved.
Without a central theme, speakers at the conference delivered on topics related to their professional background.
With a target audience of women involved in sports as athletes, executives, scientists and media practitioners, the Ladies in Sports conference seeks to expose women to profitable opportunities and trends in the global sports industry.
Former international track athlete Gloria Alozie, sports physiotherapists Mrs. Adaku Nwachukwu and Dr. Akinwunmi Amao, who made a presentation on anti-doping in sports, were among the guest speakers at the conference.
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