Ethiopian sport journalist wins the top honour at the IOC’s Women and Sport Awards

The International Olympic Committee’s choice for the Women and Sport Awards World Trophy is a first

Ethiopian journalist Dagim Zinabu Tekle (4th from left) becomes the first man to receive IOC’s Women and Sport Awards. Photo: Twitter@iocmedia
Ethiopian journalist Dagim Zinabu Tekle (4th from left) becomes the first man to receive IOC’s Women and Sport Awards. Photo: Twitter@iocmedia

Meet Dagim Zinabu Tekle, owner of DZ Advertising PLC in Ethiopia. He is also a sports journalist who conducts the Lisan Women’s Sport Radio Program, a show that’s been on air for the last five years. Just this week though, he has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Association as the World Trophy winner of their Women and Sport Awards.

Tekle’s show, which is broadcast thrice a week, aims to inspire women and girls in Ethiopia to pursue their sporting dreams. To this end, he’s had engaging conversations with over 12,580 domestic and international coaches, sportswomen, and other professionals on his show. Additionally, Tekle also looks to engage with and spread awareness on health related issues through sport. For this, he has invited close to 8,250 women sports medicine professionals on the show too.

This is the first time that the IOC has chosen a man for this award. “I created this show because I realised that in Ethiopia, women have no voice, and they are not heard....also [have] a magazine and an award ceremony for women only,” Tekle said, referring to DZ Advertising PLC’s annual Lisan Women’s Sport Award and Lisan Magazine. “This IOC award encourages me to dream bigger. I am thinking about creating the first ever Ethiopian Women Sport TV show, to raise awareness not only in my country, but also in the neighbouring countries. This award is only the beginning,” he added.

The awards were first introduced in 2000 to recognize “outstanding achievements and contributions… to promote gender equality in sport.” This year’s winners— selected by the IOC Women in Sport Commission jury—come from a list of 50 candidates collated from nominees sent from every National Olympic Committee, International Federation, and Continental Association from around the world.

Of the Continental Trophy winners, Carole Oglesby of the US won from the Americas for largely devoting her academic career “to the growth and development of women’s studies and the advocacy of women in sport.” From the Africas, Felicity Rwemarika of Rwanda was recognized for her fight to introduce a national council for women in sport in the country, as well as for founding the Organisation of Kigali Women in Sports. Former international footballer Moya Dodd of Australia won the continental trophy from Oceania. Dodd is known to have championed the cause of women’s rights within the game and for raising more awareness on the need for gender diversity in sports governance. From Europe it was, Dane football coach Majken Maria Gilmartin who was given the honour. Lastly, former athlete and Philippines’ first ever national fencing coach Maria Leonor Estampador was recognized from the Asian category.

“[Women]should feel empowered enough to take the step into sports leadership and I would urge all of them to consider this once their sporting careers are over,” said Lydia Nsekera, chair of the IOC Women in sport commission. “If they choose this path, they will find that they have the support of the IOC, which recognises the need for more women leaders within sport…”

Nsekera also noted that this year’s Rio Olympics saw a record number (45%) in participation from women athletes.

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