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The Women's Sports Alliance

PRESENTS...

WSA reveal April ‘Recognition Award’ shortlist



The Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA) is delighted to reveal the line-up for April’s inaugural ‘recognition shortlist’ which acknowledges outstanding sporting achievements over the last month as identified by WSA fans and supporters.


The nominee shortlist, as suggested and identified by WSA fans as well as supporters, are broken down into three categories; underdogs, trailblazers and squads.


Following a public vote the winners will be announced on April 30th 2023 and receive a prestigious WSA trophy!


SQUAD SHORTLIST:


ANTRIM, LADIES NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE [SQUAD]:



Irish Ladies National Football Team, Antrim, secure promotion to Division Three for the first time in their history following a 10-point victory against Leitrim at Parnell Park.


Antrim cruised to their first Division Four title. Antrim will play Division Three football next season for the first time in their history following a 10-point victory against Leitrim in the Division Four final at Parnell Park.


Their achievement was all the more impressive given they lost their previous three Division Four deciders in 2014, 2016 and 2019.


LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (LSU) TIGERS - BASKETBALL [SQUAD]:



They defeated Iowa 102-85 to claimed its first-ever national title – the 2023 NCAA women's basketball championship.


The Tigers and Hawkeyes combined for the most points in title game history, while LSU set a record for points by a team in the final.


Angel Reese was Women's Final Four Most outstanding Player, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds en-route to her Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award.

TRAILBLAZER SHORTLIST:


CAITLIN CLARK – BASKETBALL [TRAILBLAZER]:



Caitlin Clark’s ‘do-it-all game’ has made her one of the most exciting athletes in the game and her performances in the 2023 NCAA tournament have been outstanding.


They have also often been record-breaking, with Clark becoming the first player in Women’s NCAA history to record back-to-back 40-point games.


This season she also became only the sixth D1 women’s player to score 1000 points in a single season, while her tournament total of 191 points is a new record, passing the previous mark of 177 set in 1993.


MARIAM STEPANYAN – FOOTBALL COACH [TRAILBLAZER]:



Armenia's Mariam Stepanyan, head coach of the national women's Under-17 team and assistant coach to the senior national team.


A former player, she is determined to use her position to show girls and women that there is a possibility for them to make a living from sport.


"In Armenia, girls don't often think about education and I want to change this in my country," she said.


"We don't have a lot of girls or women working as a coach. I want to show others that they can have a future in this profession – football can provide an education and a career, and I want people to know that to be a coach is an important job, and even harder than being a player.”

UNDERDOG SHORTLIST:


AMELIE BLOCKSIDGE – SWIMMING [UNDERDOG]:



Amelie Blocksidge celebrated her 14th birthday in perfect style for a swimmer by claiming her maiden senior national title in the 1500m freestyle event.


It added to the impressive 800m freestyle silver medal she won earlier in the competition and underlined her status as a highly exciting British distance swimming prospect.


For greater context, she is around four second faster than USA distance freestyle legend Katie Ledecky at the same age and her time of 16 minutes 19.67 seconds was a new age group British record.


“I’m really happy and it’s the best birthday present really,” she said before adding that her future aims were now “to break more British records!”


The teenager is based in Salford and despite her senior successes, Amelie will likely target European and World junior events before seeking a place in the senior British squad.


LILLY MELDRUM – SNOOKER [UNDERDOG]:



Talented teen Lilly Meldrum has climbed five positions to place number 24 in the global standings and become the leading ranked Australian women’s snooker player.


She began played aged 9 and while she may only be 15 now, her talents have been well-known for several years. Lilly gained made headline news last year when she defeated top-seed Steph Daughter en-route to the final of the U21 competition.


Lilly has claimed several junior titles in her homeland and is aiming to make a major impact at senior level in the years ahead.


THAM NGUYEN – WEIGHTLIFTING [UNDERDOG]:



Born in Vietnam, but moved with her parents to Ireland as a child, Tham Nguyen has now made history for her adopted nation by claiming their first-ever senior European Weightlifting Championship medal.


Her ‘clean & jerk’ bronze in Armenia was highly impressive even before you consider she took at near seven-year break from the sport to start a business and a family before returning in 2022.


Seeing her brother, Nhat, compete for Ireland in badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, inspired her to make a return to her own. She has taken a major step towards qualifying for an Olympics herself with her maiden major international medal just over a year from Paris 2024.


By making her final attempt at 98kg after an earlier "good lift" decision at the same weight had been overturned by the jury, Nguyen became the first Irish female to lift twice her own bodyweight


“Now I just want to go to the Olympic Games with my brother,” she said after receiving her bronze medal.

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