International Update July/August 2021


The Global Observatory for Women, Sport, Physical Education and Physical Activity established in Lausanne The Canton of Vaud, the City of Lausanne and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) have been appointed by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to ensure the creation of the Global Observatory for Women, Sport, Physical Education and Physical Activity.

The creation of the Global Observatory for Women, Sport, Physical Education and Physical Activity (hereafter: The Global Observatory) fulfils one of the objectives of the Kazan action plan, adopted in 2017 by the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS) of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation), which brought together 121 Member States.

The Global Observatory has three main objectives in the field of sport and physical activity:

  • to guide governmental and non-governmental actors in the design of action plans enabling them to achieve gender equality;
  • to document and create unified evaluation methodologies for independent monitoring of measures taken to promote gender equality;
  •  to connect different partners in order to facilitate coordination and knowledge exchange and amplify the impact and dissemination of information on gender equality.

The Canton of Vaud, the City of Lausanne and the University of Lausanne have decided to unite and co-found an association, the aim of which is to ensure the necessary conditions for the development of the Global Observatory, as an anchor within Lausanne’s international sport ecosystem, and as a global leader. In order to do this, and with the commitment of the Social and Human Sciences sector of UNESCO, the association will ensure the development of relations and collaborations with national governments, UN agencies, international associations active in the field of gender and sport, sports federations, the International Olympic Committee, as well as political, associative and academic entities throughout the world. The association, whose statutes were signed by Mrs. Nouria Hernandez, Rector of the University of Lausanne, Mr. Philippe Leuba, State Councillor in charge of the Department of Economy, Innovation and Sport for the Canton of Vaud, and Mr. Grégoire Junod, Mayor of the City of Lausanne, will bring together international experts in order to make and develop knowledge, practices and standards in terms of gender equality in sport, physical education and physical activity.

London and Birmingham to host the IWG Secretariat & World Conference 2022 – 2026 quadrennial period, taking over from Aotearoa New Zealand on 1 October 2022.

The International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport is delighted to announce the United Kingdom (U.K.) as host to its next quadrennial period, from 1 October 2022 – 30 September 2026. The U.K. will receive the baton from Aotearoa New Zealand, shortly after it finishes global delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Auckland and Online, between 5-8 May 2022.

The quadrennial period includes a 4-year commitment to leading the delivery of the IWG Secretariat 2022 – 2026, the strategic and administrative function for the global network. It also includes design and delivery of the 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in mid-2026, the world’s largest gathering of those engaged or interested in accelerating gender equity in sport and physical activity.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance will take over international leadership from Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA), current global delivery agent for the IWG quadrennial 2018 – 2022 in New Zealand. It represents a consortium of U.K. agencies, including UK Sport and Sport England, which bid together to bring the IWG “home” to the U.K. The IWG was originally established at the 1st IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in Brighton in 1994, and has travelled to Namibia, Canada, Japan, Australia, Finland, Botswana and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The agreement was signed by the IWG Global ExecutiveIWG New Zealand (WISPA) and IWG U.K. (The Sport and Recreation Alliance). The new Secretariat will integrate into the governance and operational structure of The Sport and Recreation Alliance and will run out of its London offices. The 9th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport will take place in Birmingham, adding to the city’s exceptional portfolio of global sports events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Surfing.  (Photos are finalists from Womensport Australia’s 2021 photographic competition.)

Athlete Pathways 

  • Peak performance age in sport: the typical Olympian is ageing—a fact sheet on peak performance age in sport, released by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), analyses the age at which athletes are competing at their best and how the typical age has changed over time. (CEPAR

Athlete Wellbeing 


Child Safety

  • Independent group taking charge of safe sport in Canada—children’s sport should be free of abuse, discrimination, and bullying. The reality is that safe sport has not always been guaranteed for kids. In recent years, high-profile news stories in Canada and the United States have revealed that many athletes have suffered sexual abuse from coaches and other adults as children. (Active for LIfe

Coaching and Leadership

  • Olympic Coaching Excellence [infographic]—questionnaires were completed by 36 Olympic coaches from the UK, Australia, USA and Netherlands who had collectively coached 169 swimmers to win 352 Olympic medals (155 gold medals) (YLMSportScience)
  • Behind High Performance Teams, Part 2: ROWING—in a three-part series, we talk to some of our most successful coaches to gain an insight into the secrets behind high-performing teams. (Catriona Dixon,
  • Want to make sport fun? Here are some coaching tips from Ted Lasso—Remember Fun Coach? Five years ago, ABC Sport published a popular story about a style of leadership best suited to keep kids playing games. (Paul Kennedy, ABC

Concussion & Head Trauma


  • Campaign launched in Germany to inspire children to play sport after pandemic [GER]—a campaign has been launched in Germany to encourage sports clubs to attract children hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Geoff Berkeley, Inside the Games)
  • Physical Inactivity and COVID-19: When Pandemics Collide—physical activity creates a healthier population4 that is more resilient to infection and less likely to develop severe COVID-19 outcomes. Therefore, updating public health messaging to reflect evidence of physical activity’s role in protecting against infectious diseases as well as NCDs is critical. (Andrea Ramirez Varela, Robert Sallis, Alex V. Rowlands,, Journal of Physical Activity and Health)
Dragon Boat Racing; “To the Beat of her Drum”
  • Women’s football in Nigeria has a long history of defiance—not too long ago, Desire Oparanozie, then captain of the Nigerian women’s football team, again demanded equal pay for female Nigerian players. In Nigeria, female players are paid woefully less than their male counterparts in comparable international roles and her call had come after her team’s sit-in over unpaid bonuses and allowances for the 2019 World Cup. (Chuka Onwumechili and Jasmin Goodman, Howard University, The Conversation)
  • FIFA Opens Call For Research For Upcoming Women’s Football Medicine Journal—in line with its commitment to accelerating professionalisation in women’s football, FIFA has today opened a call for research submissions for a forthcoming journal on sports science and medicine in women’s football. Deadline for research submission: 31 December 2021. (FIFA

Australia Rules Football

Heat Illness in Sport and Exercise

  • Apparent temperature and heat-related illnesses during international athletic championships: A prospective cohort study—international outdoor athletics championships are typically hosted during the summer season, frequently in hot and humid climatic conditions. Therefore, we analyzed the association between apparent temperature and heat-related illnesses occurrence during international outdoor athletics championships and compared its incidence rates between athletics disciplines. (Karsten Hollander, Milan Klöwer, Andy Richardson, et al, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

International Sport Systems


  • Play today eNews—as lockdowns continue in many states, outdoor physical activity is so important. This edition offers 20 FREE and healthy activities that your children can do from home. (Play Australia)

Physical Activity

No progress: Physical inactivity remains a global pandemic—experts are calling for urgent action to improve physical activity worldwide, with research showing no progress in nearly a decade and that the Olympics are a missed opportunity to change health at the population level. (University of Sydney)

  • Physical activity 2021: series from the Lancet journals—the Lancet launches its third Series on physical activity, which extends our knowledge base from previous Series’ (2012 and2016) on the importance of regular physical activity and sport to our health and wellbeing. (The Lancet)
  • Experts tell UK government to launch ‘Work Out to Help Out’ campaign [UK]—A cross-party DCMS Committee in the UK has called on the government to launch a Work Out to Help Out campaign to incentivise people to get involved in organised sport and physical activity. (Tom Walker, Sports Management)
  • Drive to get kids moving this summer [UK]—we’ve produced a new video and selection of resources, as well as investing in projects, to support children getting active this summer. (Sport England)
  • UK aims to be most active nation on earth by 2030 [UK]—Paralympic champion and ukactive chair Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has issued a rallying cry for the UK to become the most active nation in the world by 2030. (Tom Walker, Sports Management)
  • Quality sport: The art of creating good activity programs for kids—quality programs in physical activity and sport can do immensely positive things for your child. Beyond developing physical literacy and physical fitness, good programs are capable of promoting confidence, self esteem, social connection, leadership skills, and more. (Jim Grove, Active for LIfe)
  • International Exercise Recommendations in Older Adults (ICFSR): Expert Consensus Guidelines—there is a range between two distinct phenotypes of ageing, shaped by patterns of living – experiences and behaviours, and in particular by the presence or absence of physical activity (PA) and structured exercise (i.e., a sedentary lifestyle). (Izquierdo, M., Merchant, R.A., Morley, J.E. et al. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging)
  • Getting Kids Physical—2020 brought the word “pandemic” out of the history books and into current events. But prior to the coronavirus, many epidemiologists raised the alarm about another pandemic facing our country – an epidemic of inactivity. (Preston Blackburn, Playground Professionals
  • Paralympics haven’t decreased barriers to physical activity for most people with disabilities—more than 4,000 athletes from around the world will compete at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, a tenfold increase since the first Paralympics in 1960. Despite the growth in Paralympic athletes, for most of the world’s 1.5 billion people with a disability, participation in sports, exercise and other types of physical activity is still nearly impossible. (Kathleen A Martin Ginis & Cameron M. Gee, University of British Columbia, The Conversation
  • PE at Home: keeping the ‘E’ in PE while home-schooling during a pandemic—the world experienced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in school closures across the globe in early 2020. PE is vital in providing motor development opportunities for children and it is essential to ensure that the provision of quality PE experiences is continued, even in the context of a pandemic. (Maura Coulter, Úna Britton, Áine MacNamara, Mika Manninen, Bronagh McGrane & Sarahjane Belton, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy)
White water canoeing

Physical Literacy 

  • In Their Corner: A guide for parents coaching young athletes—put simply, physical literacy is holistic lifelong learning through movement and physical activity. It delivers physical, psychological, social and cognitive health and wellbeing benefits. In a nutshell, it’s more than just about exercising, it’s about developing our whole self. (Clare Ferguson, Suncorp Team Girls & Sport Australia

(Editor:  this is a free resource.)


Olympic Games

Skate Sports

  • ‘Girls please stay in the kitchen’—as skateboarding debuts at the Olympics, beware of the lurking misogyny—Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut this year at the Tokyo Games. The women’s and men’s competitions will both involve park and street events. (Brigid McCarthy, La Trobe University, The Conversation)

Sport Medicine

Sport Science

  • Why Older Athletes Lose Explosive Power—here’s a somewhat depressing question to ponder if you’re in your thirties or beyond: Are your muscles getting slower, or are they just getting weaker? It’s an important question, because for many functional tasks—sprinting up a hill, pulling yourself past the crux of a climb, or simply getting out of a plush armchair—success depends not just on how much force you can exert, but on how quickly you can exert it. (Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online)
  • World Athletics Admits its Research Underpinning DSD Regulations is “Potentially Misleading”—Caster Semenya and several other athletes were banned from certain events in Tokyo, but in a scientific correction published today World Athletics admits flaws in research used to support the ban. (Roger Pielke, blog

Tokyo Olympics

The Olympics still have the power to inspire — and reveal our nastier impulses and hypocrisies—murmurs regarding the decline of the Olympics appear to have been premature. Despite the well-founded critiques, doubts, concerns, and ambivalence before the Tokyo games began, they have provided many compelling moments, stories, and discussion points that have gripped much of the world. (Matthew Klugman, Institute for Health & Sport, and Co-convenor of the Olympic Research Network, Victoria University, The Conversation

12 of the Best from the ‘Respect’ Olympics—here are 12 examples of the Olympic Spirit in which respect was shown and the world brought closer through the power of sport. #StrongerTogether. (Club Respect

IOC President thanks Japan as Olympic Orders awarded to Koike, Hashimoto and Muto—as the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 came to a close on Sunday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid tribute to all involved those in their success, from high-level government leaders to thousands of volunteers and workforce members. (International Olympic Committee)

From the pool to the velodrome and the track, here are the Tokyo Olympics most memorable races—with the flame extinguished over Japan National Stadium, the Summer Olympic Games have come to a close. The past 16 sixteen days have seen triumphs, tragedies, and history being made. Tokyo certainly has been home to some of the most exciting and engaging racing in memory. (Cody Atkinson and Sean Lawson, ABC News)

Tribute to Beatriz Wiid by Doreen Solomons

 “Dr Beatrice Wiid, was one of the phenomenal ladies who drove Physical Education and Sport amongst girls in South Africa for over more than 60 years…This remarkable lady lectured at Stellenbosch University and was an inspiration to many”.


Tennis: Ash Barty returns serve.

Obituary for Dr. Claudine Sherrill, the Mother of Adapted Physical Activity (1934-2020)

Prof Dr Claudine Sherrill, Professor Emeritus of Texas Woman’s University, passed away unexpectedly on May 8, 2020. This was, indeed, a tremendous shock to those who knew her. She was a living legend in the eyes of the international Adapted Physical Activity community and was influential in areas adjacent to adapted physical activity, including Special Olympics International, International Paralympic Committee, International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education, and International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women.

Sherrill loved teaching and challenging students at various levels of ability and formal education. Her teaching style, her ability to instill the pursuit of excellence in each of her students and colleagues, and her generous laugh made her an individual worthy of eminence and respect.

She was also a professional with superb editing skills. As we know, editing takes unbelievable hours of intensive focus. She willing invested unbelievable hours editing student, colleague, and her own books, documents, grants, and presentation materials. Her interest in international work was phenomenal. She was world-renowned in the area of adapted physical activity, having published over 160 articles, some of which were translated into many languages. She was also known as a superb scholar who presented in over 30 countries and five continents. Sherrill’s dedication to social justice was one of the underpinnings in her writings and presentations globally.

Her service was something that many have attempted to emulate. In the USA, she led at state, regional, and national levels of professional organizations. Internationally, she served on the IFAPA Board in various capacities: as president of IFAPA (International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity), vice president, and member of the executive board). She also provided leadership on numerous editorial boards and served as issue editor for several Palaestra editions. She served as a volunteer consultant to IAPESGW in several capacities during her professional career as well.

Prof Dr Claudine Sherrill, Professor Emeritus of Texas  Woman’s University, will be remembered for her unique contributions to the field of Adapted Physical Activity glocally and for her ability to inspire others to become their best. Those who were fortunate enough to have had her as a professor/educator, a colleague, or a friend were truly blessed to have experienced a unique, once-in-a-lifetime woman…like, yet unlike, anyone the world has known.

For additional information, look at the editor’s corner, Palaestra, 2021, Volume 35, Number 1, pp. 6-7.

Reference: Editor’s Corner. (July 2021). Dr. Claudine Sherrill (1934-2020): Our mother of adapted physical activity. Palaestra, 35(1), 6-7.

Sport for Development

  • Girls’ leadership development through sport—Bhubesi Pride Foundation focuses on developing leadership in women and girls through a rugby-based sport for development program across multiple countries in Africa. (Justin Robar,

Sexuality and Gender Issues

Value of Sport

Triathlon: Swim. Bike. Run.

Volunteering in Sport

Sport Australia launches new vision and plan to revolutionize sport volunteering—Sport Australia has taken the next steps towards building a more collaborative, cohesive, and contemporary approach to volunteering in sport with the release of an industry-first insights report and new national plan for the future of sport volunteering. (Sport Australia)

Women in Sport

Uniform discontent: how women athletes are taking control of their sporting outfits—women’s dress codes in sport are determined by “traditions” that are both outdated and gendered. Their outfits have long tried to reconcile notions of “femininity” with those of “athleticism”, but this process has turned women into objects to be admired rather than being valued for their sporting skills. (Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan, Charles Sturt University, The Conversation)

Sport can inspire girls—in many cultures in the world, girls are prohibited from participating in sport. But it is integral that they have role models that they can look up to, to know that they too can play sport. (Saraswati Saud, Alba Alexandra Patzi Sunagua,

Supporting the Female Athlete: short course—La Trobe University has developed a short course focusing on the unique physiology and requirements of females in sport. This course is designed to advance coaches knowledge and skills in the areas of training, nutrition and injury prevention for female athletes. (La Trobe University)

Young women rising up to lead—in Afghanistan, sports are an easy and cost-effective medium to engage the community and build leadership in women and girls. (Chelsea Novakowski,

Women in Afghanistan fought to play sport, and now they fear it’s being ripped away from them—ten years ago, Afghanistan’s Paralympic Committee president had eleven bullets fired into his upper body, neck and face by the Taliban. He was left for dead. (Tracey Holmes, ABC News)

Highlining: “One Inch from Flying”

Many thanks to IAPESGW’s contributors to the INTERNATIONAL UPDATE. Please continue to forward your stories and news to the new Communications Director.