International Women's Day: Joanna Rowsell says it is time to celebrate female role models
By Dev Trehan. Last Updated: 14/03/14 10:31am
Joanna Rowsell: Use International Women's Day to celebrate role models
Olympic and World track cycling champion Joanna Rowsell says International Women's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate female role models.
Rowsell has just returned from Colombia after winning two World Championship gold medals to add to her London 2012 Team Pursuit crown and 2013 European Track Championships title.
And the 25-year-old believes International Women's Day, which celebrates women's achievements past, present and future, is particularly beneficial for young females.
"I think it's very empowering and inspiring. It's a really good thing and a great idea," Rowsell told skysports.com.
"The media perhaps don't always cover women, especially in sport, because they don't achieve as much as the men sometimes.
"It's really important, especially for young girls, to be able to have women to look up to and to have female role models.
"It's really important, especially for young girls, to be able to have women to look up to and to have female role models."
"Days like this are important for the youngsters because they can see all these different things you can do, all these different things you can achieve rather than the reality TV which the media often bombards us with."
Rowsell also offered some valuable words of wisdom to young aspiring female athletes of all disciplines.
"I would say to a young girl to enjoy it to begin with," she said. "Always believe in yourself and don't listen to anybody who doesn't believe in you.
"There have been plenty of times in my career when people have written me off or thought other people were going to be better than me, or thought I was never going to make it, but I've always believed in myself.
"Keep your self-belief, keep doing what's right for you and you can achieve anything you want to."
Rowsell was speaking at London's Olympic Park where she presented a cheque to Active Newham which will go towards funding weekly coached cycling training sessions for youngsters in the Olympic borough.
The funds will also help Newham enter and prepare teams for the 2014 Balfour Beatty London Youth Games, Europe's largest annual youth sports event.
Rowsell competed in the Youth Games for her local borough of Sutton in 2004 and is now delighted one of the event's patrons.
"I'm really proud to be a patron of the games especially because it was one of my first cycling events back in 2004 when I was a complete beginner.
"Someone found an old local newspaper article and pointed out recently that I was actually last out of my team of four.
"The team came second and I had the slowest time, but last week I became a world champion so I've improved a lot since then!
"It was really good to be part of team Sutton and compete against other London boroughs. It was a good event to start in and I think it's really important for children to have the opportunity to do lots of different sports at that age."