This week I was really lucky to land a position as presenter on a new show to be shown on Sky over the summer.
It’s all about sport, with a female slant, and as part of the role, on Thursday, I was was thrilled to interview Team GB athlete Nekoda Davis. Nekoda won a gold medal in Judo at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, and had a fascinating story to tell.
Her Judo journey began when she was only 6 years old and a Judo coach came into her primary school to do a demonstration of the sport.
Nekoda tried it out and she was hooked, and is now in the top ten in the world and competed in Rio last year. As well as competing and training she also spends a lot of time visiting local schools and inspiring people to get involved in the sport.
Having interviewed Nekoda and several other elite athletes for the new show, there is a common theme that seems to run throughout each individual athlete’s story, and that is what a profoundly positive impact sport can have on a person’s life.
It’s so easy to just think about top level athletes being the ones that benefit exclusively from sport, but that simply isn’t the case, and people considering taking up a sport, at any age, shouldn’t be discouraged just because they aren’t playing at elite level. Yes, professional sport’s stars can make a lot of money, but that is just one of a huge range of positive outcomes the result from playing sport.
Everyone, from grass roots level participants to elite level athletes, can experience the social benefits associated with being involved in sport. Whether it’s joining a local running club or simply pitching up on your own at a driving range, there are vast opportunities to meet new people, enjoy yourself and make life long friends.
But the positive aspects of sport don’t end there. Being active and immersing yourself in your chosen activity is a brilliant stress reliever. It focuses your mind on something else and takes your head away from stressful situations, such as work, giving you the chance to be carefree, even it is just for an hour a few times a week.
For me sport gave me confidence in myself. It also taught me solid life lessons in dedication, commitment and discipline, not to mention all of the awesome people I met along the way and the fun experiences I’ve had.
While the media will always continue to focus heavily on elite sport and those who take part, it’s important to remember that sport is for everyone and there are plenty of different sports out their to try, from the traditional sports such as football and running, to those that sail under the sporting radar a little, such as goal ball and dodgeball.
So why not get yourself onto Google, and find out what’s happening in Sunderland.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a range of fun, friendly sporting opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.