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Sports student receives global recognition

UCLan undergraduate Zuleikha Chikh named on Muslim Women in Sports Powerlist 2019

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has been selected as one of the most influential Muslim women in global sport.

Zuleikha Chikh has joined 30 professional athletes, journalists, coaches and senior sports administrators on the Muslim Women in Sports Powerlist 2019.

The final year BSc (Hons) Sports Business Management student and founder of UCLan’s Women’s Futsal Club is passionate about engaging women in sport and increasing the representation of people from ethnic minorities in leadership positions in the football industry. She is also involved with numerous national governing bodies and sport panels.

The 21-year-old said: “It’s truly overwhelming to be listed among the top 30 most visionary and influential Muslim women who are positively impacting the sports industry at various levels from world-renowned Olympians to local heroes. I am honoured to have been recognised for my efforts and be a part of a growing movement of women leading the way in sport. It just proves the increasing quality of influence from the female Muslim sports community and the role we play in sport.”

Zuleikha, from Preston, was nominated for the award by her UCLan lecturer Leona Trimble, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Women and Girls Football Development Officer Nicki Russel and FA Equality and Diversity Manager Kevin Coleman.

The former Our Lady’s Catholic High School, in Fulwood, and Cardinal Newman College student believes sport is a tool that can be used to bring people together from different backgrounds, to boost self-esteem and to contribute to educational attainment.

It’s truly overwhelming to be listed among the top 30 most visionary and influential Muslim women who are positively impacting the sports industry at various levels from world-renowned Olympians to local heroes.

She is involved with a number of other organisation, including the role of Coach at Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre and Football Club, Youth Sport Trust Team Leader, Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity Youth Panel, Lancashire FA Inclusion Advisory Group member, volunteer with the British Red Cross and UCLan Students’ Union (SU) Black Asian Minority Ethnic Ambassador.

Zuleikha, who has been shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year Award at the upcoming Preston Sports Awards and who won the BUCS Higher Education Hero Award for 2017/18, said: “It is a great feeling to be recognised for doing what I love! I could not be more thankful to my family, the staff at UCLan Sports Arena, UCLan Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, UCLan SU, UCLan Sport and Wellbeing for supporting me and Kath and Pete Mason from Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre for all the amazing opportunities they have given me and UCLan students to flourish.

“I have had a great support network around me and have secured £750 from Lancashire FA to grow UCLan Women’s Futsal Club. It is truly amazing now we have students and staff from different countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Portugal, Gibraltar and Germany coming together to play the beautiful game.”

There are plans to bring all the powerlist 2019 women together at some time during the year. Other women who made the list are BBC and BT Sport presenter Reshmin Chowdhury; Nawal El Moutawakel, International Olympic Committee Member and Moroccan Olympic hurdling champion; and Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General.

Zuleikha’s next project comes at the end of this month when she heads to Morocco with UCLan’s School of Social Work, Care and Community to run sporting activities and develop information and communications technology skills with boys and girls at an orphanage and with adults at an addiction rehabilitation centre.

She added: “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to engage people in sport on an international level, share ideas and help them maximise their potential and employability skills.”


Zuleikha says sport is a tool to bring people together

Rachel Atkinson | 14 March 2019