Women In Sports Show The Meaning Of ‘Girl Power’

Women have played second fiddle to men’s sports since, like, the first-ever Olympics. Back in 1896, women weren’t allowed to participate in the Olympics because they were deemed as “too weak and fragile.”

At the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. Yet, research by Pantene shows that sports build confidence and competitiveness in 80% of women who are involved. Perhaps that’s why the women who stay in sports often excel at what they do.

Pantene’s #WanitaBesi campaign highlights the importance of letting girls pursue sports, with encouragement from their ambassador, one of Malaysia’s finest Olympic gymnasts. Women show the meaning of ‘girl power’ when they pursue sports, and here are five types of sports we excel in.

1. Gymnastics

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi isn’t a stranger in the world of sports. She’s Malaysia’s award-winning artistic gymnast who has endured multiple injuries to get to where she is today. Farah Ann has endured a surprising backlash and cyberbullying after winning double gold medals during the 2015 SEA Games. To which the gymnast said, “Empty cans make the most noise.”

“Empty cans make the most noise.” – Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, Malaysian Olympic Gymnast.

She is currently the ambassador for Pantene’s Braids of Strength campaign and encourages all girls to stay in sports and pursue their dreams. Strength isn’t just about brawn – your strength is all in your head. You just need to harness it.

2. Shooting

Nur Suryani binti Mohamed Taibi made headlines when she became the most pregnant athlete to compete at the 2012 London Olympics. The 2012 Olympics was every athlete’s dream and this #WanitaBesi wasn’t about to let go of that. Despite receiving advice telling her to quit, she persevered and practiced her shooting skills until the competition day, at 8 months pregnant.

Her daughter is now 7 years old, and watches her mom practice every week. Suryani’s inner strength shows us that we’re capable of doing anything when we put our minds to it.

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3. Football

We often see men’s football on TV and not much else – like the Premiere League, for example. Women’s football exists too, so let’s cheer for these female athletes who inspire us simply by doing what they love! The women’s association football is actually listed as the most prominent team sport played by women all-across the globe.

Our very own Steffi Sarge Kaur tirelessly plays football for the Harimau Malaya women’s division. She definitely has what it takes to conquer the very much male-dominated game – speed, agility, and passion for the sport.

4. Martial arts

If you think women aren’t prominently present in martial arts, think again! After years of being told to defend ourselves, women are reigning in the martial arts. Ann Osman is the Malaysian mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete who inspires us to be better women every day. She was the first professional female athlete to represent her country in the ONE Fighting Championship, after having trained for two years in MMA, and having a solid background in Muay Thai. The badass lady has since retired from the sport in November 2017 but continues to work with ONE FC in the athletic relations department.

5. Triathlon

Most athletes excel in just one sport – but triathletes are at a different level altogether. They have to excel at swimming, cycling, and running, all at once. Most of us wouldn’t even dream of doing more than one of these sports in just one day – thinking about it just makes me feel out of breath. Malaysian female triathlete Zoe Natasha Bowden was just 17 when she was selected to compete in the 2017 SEA Games where she placed fifth. She was the youngest athlete there too! Now, she aims to work her way up to the Olympics. You go, girl!

Ladies, if you’re passionate about sports, take it up and don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. After all, sports builds confidence, initiative and teamwork. Stay strong, stay beautiful, and stay in sports.