The election process to join the UK Athletics Athletes’ Commission is underway and they are currently seeking nominations prior to the deadline at noon on 13th October.
Seven members have come to the end of their term, and although they are eligible to stand for re-election, we at the Commission are really excited about the opportunity for new members to join the group.
GB&NI internationals from the past six years (1st January 2015 onwards) are eligible to apply and should have an email detailing the process by which to submit a nomination.
Who we are and what we do
The Commission was formed in 2017 with the intention to ensure that athletes’ voices are heard by UKA.
The Commission chair sits on the UK Members Council and we have a position as an observer at UKA Board meetings. Since its formation the Commission has had several rounds of changes within the members and each time new faces have brought different ideas and approaches to the table.
We hope that the possibility of election to the Commission can attract the same strength of candidates we have had in the past.
The Commission takes an active involvement in providing feedback on upcoming selection policies and occupy a role as a non-voting observer in selection meetings from junior competitions right through to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We’ve also helped to provide the athlete consultations that assisted in further development of Olympic Marathon trial this year and hope to continue to gather information on athletes’ experiences.
A passion for athletics
From a personal perspective, although I’ve perhaps not hit the heights in my own career as some others, my passion for athletics is not lessened because of that.
I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible highs in the sport along with some challenges with injuries and non-selections. It is these experiences, both positive and negative, that drives me towards wanting to make a constructive impact on our sport and for those involved.
For me, key to this is working with integrity for the athlete community to make the sport more transparent and open. The Commission has been the ideal forum to allow me to do this and I feel immensely privileged to be succeeding Hannah England as Chair.
We are a rather unique sport within the Olympic events with athletes able to qualify and represent Team GB without being part of a centralised funded structure we see in other sports.
A wide representation
The Commission itself represents this uniqueness, exemplified by our commitment to diversity and inclusion in line with our Terms of Reference. In practice this means that of the seven spots available we will elect a minimum of 2 females, 1 BAME, 3 Para and 1 WCP member in the 2021 elections.
Candidates can satisfy multiple criteria. Thanks to this and the nature of our sport we have such a diverse range of experiences and passions for different events, all brought together by wanting to push athletics forward and provide a voice to the athletics community.
Moving forward, I’d like the group to become a more visible face for athletes as we learn from our engagement with both UKA and those we represent. In the past year we’ve seen the Commission promoted through regular articles in Athletics Weekly thanks to the work of Steph Twell.
This is something I’m keen to see continued in the future. The more open we can be the better, the more we listen to athletes’ concerns the better.
Apply today if you want to make a difference
Outside of the Commission we’ve also seen some fantastic and hugely important athlete welfare advocacy in 2021 such as the successful campaign to seek lifetime bans for coaches found guilty of physical or sexual misconduct and abuse. The work of Kyniska Advocacy in achieving this demonstrates just how vital, and powerful, the athlete voice is in making tangible positive change to sport.
We at the Commission are really looking forward to seeing the nominations that will come in over the next few days. Last year we had a total of 26 candidates of exceedingly high quality for only four spaces. With the way things have worked, we have seven spots to fill for new members this year. We will provide an update on nominations with a list of those up for election in the near future.
If you have any questions or would like further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Athletics Athletes’ Commission; @UKA_AC