Talented Heidi’s ‘20x20’ vision for the future of women in sport

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A talented Buncrana sports enthusiast is one of the young faces promoting a new initiative that focuses on girls and women in sport.

Heidi Gill, a pupil at Scoil Iosagain, features on a new video to highlight the 20x20 programme, which aims to increase participation, media coverage and attendance in women’s sport by 20%, by 2020.

The video has been featured on RTE and has been a big hit on social media.

The 11-year-old was an obvious choice to feature on the piece, as she has a huge passion for sport.

Heidi first started playing football when she was six years old and just five years later plays for her school as well as Buncrana U12 and U14, Inishowen U12 and the FAI Emerging Talent Programme. She also participates in all athletics for the school. This year, the school won the SPAR FAI All Ireland final and got to play at the Aviva, where talented Heidi scored a hat trick.

Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ Heidi said she got involved with the 20x20 project after her mammy, Amanda, saw an advert on facebook.

Heidi continued: “She sent in my application and I was lucky to get an audition. Me and mammy went to Dublin in August. I had to go into a room with three people who interviewed me for 30 minutes, asking me different questions about sport etc. They recorded my audition and I thought it was really cool. I was delighted when they contacted my mammy to say I got the part.”

Heidi’s favourite sports person is Ronaldo, as he is a “class player and so kind and friendly to kids.” She admits how she doesn’t know of many famous female sports people, apart from Katie Taylor, as “she gets a lot of media coverage.” This is something Heidi hope will change in the future, through initiatives like 20x20 and a greater focus on women in sport. She told how she thinks there should be more girls playing sport, “because it keeps you healthy and fit and is a lot of fun.” She added: “It doesn’t have to be Gaelic or football, it can be any sports, like swimming, boxing, athletics, or whatever because its good to be involved in sport.”

Heidi said there should be a stronger focus on female sports people: “There are a lot of talented girls in sport and we should be reading about them and watching them as well as boys.” She also urged other girls to get out and join their local team, come to training, work hard and train hard because its “really good craic.”

And, she concluded: “It gets you outside in the fresh air, it keeps you fit and healthy and it gives you a break from social media for a couple of hours.