Wembley Stadium staged the inaugural Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation Ambassador Awards on Wednesday night.
FA Chairman David Bernstein opened the ceremony in the Bobby Moore Suite with a short welcome message and also had the honour of presenting the UK Sportswoman of the Year award to Sahra Hassan, a professional golfer from Wales. Among those also representing The FA were England senior women’s head coach Hope Powell and internationals Rachel Yankey and Alex Scott.
The high-profile event, hosted by Na’eem Raza and Ruhana Ali, focused on female role models from the Muslim community and those, Muslim and non-Muslim, who have worked to increase access to sports for Muslim women across the globe.
In all, 58 entries over six categories were received from the UK and abroad with nominees ranging from royalty and elite athletes to grassroots community organisations and volunteers.
The judging panel consisted of influential members from the world of sport, business and the community. Chairing the panel was Lorraine Deschamps, one of the top female football referees in the UK and ambassador of diversity and equality for the black and minority ethnic community.
David Bernstein said: "These awards highlight the many individuals and teams who can act as an inspiration for women and girls playing sport in the Muslim community, but we at The Football Association are aware we have a significant role to play too in continuing to promote diversity and opportunity.
"2012 promises to be a landmark sporting year and this evening certainly played its part. Reminding us all of the important role sport can play in uniting and bringing out the very best in people."
The award winners are listed below in bold
• Muslim Scouts - United Kingdom's official body for Muslim adults who are active in scouting with over 2000 Muslim scouts and 38 Muslim scout groups nationwide
• Muslim Women's Collective - Second-tier umbrella organisation consisting of ten member organisations with principal objectives to empower Muslim and non-Muslim women and their families living or working in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring East London boroughs
• Women's only group - Based in Wales constitutes women from diverse communities who organise activities in a safe and friendly social environment for local and ethnic minority residents
• Ibtihaj Muhammad - American sabre fencer, first Muslim female to make the U.S. World Championship Team and London 2012 Olympic hopeful
• Kulsoom Abdullah – Pakistani-American computer engineer who has been Olympic Weightlifting for three years and Crossfitting for two years
• Sadaf Rahimi - 17-year-old boxer from Afghanistan and will be the nation’s first female Olympic boxer when she competes at London 2012
• Faezeh Hashemi - From Tehran, Iran, President of the Islamic Federation for Women’s Sport and pioneer campaigning for the right of Muslim women to participate in sport
• Salma Bi - From Birmingham, Level 2 cricket coach and Umpire Level 1A, senior captain at Five Ways Old Edwardians Cricket Club and founder of coaching academy Believe in M.A.D- Making a Difference
• Tansin Benn - Based in Birmingham, President of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women, author and researcher focusing on the experiences of Muslim girls and women in sport
• Khadijah Safari - Black belt Muay Thai kickboxing instructor from South West London providing ladies only classes
• Sehrish Mumtaz - Footballer for Notts County Ladies Club, Level 2 football coach working part time at the Derby County Centre of Excellence and Level 2 Sports Leader
• Shaafia Bi - Fully accredited cycling instructor running classes in Birmingham and delivering Bikeability training in schools
• Amira Rashid – Footballer, Joint captain of Women United Association Football Club (WUAFC) based in Newham, East London
• Ruqsana Begum – British Kickboxing Champion and Gold Medallist at European Muay Thai Clubs Cup 2011 from East London
• Sahra Hassan – Professional golfer, representing Wales and Great Britain
Volunteer of the year
• Maryam Amatullah - Wife, mother of three and a fully trained cycle leader encouraging women into cycling in Leicester
• Rabiya Ahmed – Level 2 sports leader and Level 1 football coach from Fishwick Rangers Youth Development Scheme, Preston
• Shona Pollock – Founder Women’s United FC based in Newham, East London
Special Recognition Award
Presented to HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, FIFA Vice-President and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Olympic athlete and President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), for their achievements, influence and contribution toward Muslim women’s sport.
For more information, visit the official website awards.mwsf.org.uk