Zoe George is joined by Karen Nimmo to discuss the meaning of success with Olympian Barbara Kendall and Seventh Degree Blackbelt Ava Strong plus Sarah Gregorious on football U17’s team
Fair Play is a co-production of Radio New Zealand and WiSP Sports hosted by Zoe George
Podcast length: 37′ 56″
This month on Fair Play, Windsurfing legend Barbara Kendall and Seventh Degree Blackbelt Ava Strong talk success, Football Ferns’ Sarah Gregorious gives us her take on the U17s and their chances at the Halbergs, and co-host sports psychologist Karen Nimmo discusses Imposter’s Syndrome, Tall Poppy Syndrome and the difference between arrogance and drive.
The Under 17 Football Ferns should win the team of the year at the Halbergs, according to a number of high profile sportswomen.
Football Ferns forward Sarah Gregorius says the U17’s success at the Fifa World Cup has put New Zealand on the map. “There hasn’t been a bigger statement on the world stage,” she says.
The team came third in the competition, the highest any New Zealand football team has placed at a Fifa event.
“It’s such a massive achievement and one we potentially might not see again for a while,” Gregorius says.
The U17 were named alongside the Black Ferns and All Blacks Sevens, the NZ Kayaking team and the Black Sticks, all of whom either won or placed highly on the world stage in 2018. But Gregorius says we are used to seeing these teams succeed regularly.
“To see a football team finish third at a global event… this could be the highest achievement ever and I hope it gets celebrated,” she says. “And they get recognised for the outstanding and quite unbelievable achievement that it is.”
International wind surfer turned sports administrator Barbara Kendall, who recently celebrated another success by being named as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport, says the U17s embodied what sport should be about both on and off the field.
“They are a talented, special bunch [and] results reflected that,” Kendall says. “[There’s a] new generation with an incredible awareness of themselves and the world and what they want and what’s right.
“[They are] empowered, but values driven and respectful… the team epitomises that.”
Sports psychologist Karen Nimmo says the team’s success was such a “feel good story” that lifted the nation up.
“The sheer joy… we don’t see enough of it and we don’t often get behind it,” Nimmo says. “In New Zealand we need to step right up [and] celebrate genuine achievement.”
Sarah Gregorius does question whether the conversation would be different if it was the U17 men’s team. “Not just [about] the Halbergs, but how the group would be treated beyond that,” she says. “I’m crossing my fingers that with this bubble of talent its nurtured. This is potentially a team that ends up in the world cup final at the 2027 World Cup
“It’s an interesting … exercise to ask ‘what if the gender was different what would be going on here?’. But I would hope, whether male or female, they would walk away with deserved awards and accolades.“
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Meet Ava Strong
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Grandmaster Ava Strong (MNZM), 7th Degree Black Belt (Kyoshi) (Kiaido Ryu Masters Board)
Ava is the highest ranked woman in Kiaido Ryu Martial Arts, and also in Dillman Karate International (outside the USA). She has been studying the Martial Arts for over 29 years. In September 1996 Ava was awarded her 6th Degree Black Belt by a panel of Grandmasters in Reading Pennsylvania USA. In July 2009 Ava was awarded her 7th Degree Black Belt and Grandmasters ranking. This was sanctioned by Grand Master Leo Fong 10th Degree Black Belt, Los Angeles USA, and the Kiaido Ryu Masters Board.
For five years Ava worked as a stunt person and stunt double on the well known television shows “Xena” and “Hercules” and also did stunt work on the movie The Last Samurai.
Ava has trained extensively in the USA and Canada in the field of Pressure Points, Jiu Jitsu, and Arnis Stickfighting under some of the worlds leading martial arts experts. In addition to instructing her martial arts classes Ava also teaches Cardio Kickboxing classes.
“Through our comprehensive martial arts training we bring women to the realization that being a woman is no longer a sign of vulnerability; it is a reflection of their inner strength.”
“Our self defense syllabus has a strong focus on removing the victims from society. And as a result of their training, it gives women and girls the real life skills, strategies, and inner strength they need to be able to live their lives unrestricted by fear or limitation.”