experienced sport’s full captivating
power when she captained the Great Britain women’s
volleyball team at the London Olympics last year. She felt the
power of sport again recently but in an altogether different
context – when taking part in a UN Youth Leadership Camp
YLC) organised by the
UN Office on Sport for
Development and Peace) in Doha, Qatar.
And this time it was sport’s power to make a difference that stood
out. “These camps are a perfect example of how sport, no matter
what it may be, can create opportunities and in some cases a lifeline
for people in disadvantaged communities,” she explained.
Beattie attended the camp for 30 youth leaders in sport from Africa
and the Middle East at the Aspire Dome in Doha from January 14-24.
She participated in the opening press conference, gave a classroom
talk on volleyball and also took part in a practical session. As an
Olympian, she was proof that hard work does pay off, but she found
she was preaching to the converted.
The thing that stood out to me most was the participants’ willingness
to learn,” she said of the youth leaders, all aged between 18 and
30. “
They were interactive, asked questions, shared stories and were
genuinely driven.” None more so than Elizabeth Andiego from Kenya,
a fellow London 2012 competitor.
She was a boxer, initially learning the sport in a club that teaches
it to women for self-defence,” Beattie explained. “Against all odds,
Elizabeth qualified and represented her country in London. I felt a
pretty strong connection with her. Her story, her motivation, her vision
everything about her was inspiring and I believe she will have a great
impact back home.”
The goal of these camps is for the youth leaders to return home
and make an impact, and Beattie considers it vital that the FIVB and
national volleyball federations continue to lend their support. “Giving
these young people the support and training they need to improve
their community projects as well as their own individual development
is an extremely worthwhile cause,” she added.
UN Special Adviser on Sport Wilfried Lemke (red under-garment) finds some new FIVB heroes to worship