Ayesha Billimoria-India’s Fastest Girl

On She Speaks Sport this week, I am joined by Ayesha Billimoria, once known as the fastest girl in India. Ayesha is a 3-time national champion in the 200 metres, and she represented the state of Maharashtra for 17 consecutive years. She has held several national and state titles and in 2016, she started Project Fitgirl, aimed at educating young girls through sport development.

On the show, we discuss Ayesha’s early success and how running is her passion and her purpose. She reflects on one of the biggest races she ran as a young teen, when she won gold at the national championships. Sports had the power to change her life, and today Ayesha found Project Fitgirl to create change in the lives of young girls in rural India. Discussing the various hindrances to girls’ education, Ayesha uncovers the deep mindsets of casteism and lack of education for girls, which causes deep inequalities and pain. Yet through sport development, physical literacy and sports education programs, Ayesha shares the successes and the continued need to advocate for girls. A heartfelt fervour coaching, we discuss the approach to coaching Ayesha has adopted and hopes to see spread across India.

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The Comrades Marathon with Carla Molinaro

A She Speaks Sport Comrades Special!

The Comrade’s marathon is what many term “the greatest ultra – marathon on the globe,” and South Africans love hosting this popular marathon where legends and heroes have been made. I invited ultra marathon runner Carla Molinaro on to the show to discuss her personal preparation for Comrades and how it felt to podium at the Two Oceans. We discuss the downhill route and how the downhill affects runners in the Comrades. How important support is from fans and spectators, the marathon channel just for women this year and the conversation around payment for male and female athletes. And while Carla insists there is no support or help at the front of the race, we always get to witness the importance of camaraderie, (some marriage proposals), and kindness on the route between the runners.

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