Girls Go Gold Conference

Posted: 15th September 2023

On Thursday 14th September, our Cobham Sports Scholars (Year 10+) and A Level PE students attended the GSA Girls Go Gold Conference 2023 at The Abbey School, Reading. The conference hosted 550 students and PE staff from 40 schools, for a day of inspiration and sports masterclasses with leading UK athletes and coaches.

Students had the opportunity to listen to, and meet, keynote speakers who are great role models and advocates for women in sport:

  • Dame Katherine Grainger, now chair of UK Sport, was one of the most memorable stories of London 2012, winning Olympic rowing gold.
  • Dame Denise Lewis, President of Commonwealth Games England, is a British sports presenter and former track and field athlete, who specialised in the heptathlon. She won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was twice Commonwealth Games
  • Sarah Hunter CBE, recently retired as Captain of England Rugby after the spectacular Six Nations Victory in April.

Our students took part in masterclasses of their choice, receiving coaching from athletes and coaches who reached the very top of their sports.

  • Alana took part in a sprint session with Ibrahim Turay, a sprint coach who competed in the 2012 Olympics for Sierra Leone.
  • Olivia and Natasha took part in a swimming session with Amy Smith, World and Olympic finalist, Commonwealth medallist and European Relay Champion, and Joe Roebuck, European medallist, Olympic semi-finalist and 10x British Champion, Commonwealth medallist and record holder.
  • Liz took part in a football session with Jon Whittingham, FA Women’s Talent Technical Coach within the England Talent Pathway – specifically, working with the WU14 – 16s.

Our Sports Scholars had the opportunity to undertake some Performance Testing to help identify their strengths and weaknesses with Tristan Baker, Head of Performance, GoPerform BSc, MSc (Strength and Conditioning), ASCC, CSCS.

They also attended a variety of talks including:

  • Success, Setbacks & Resilience: An Athlete’s Story– Delivered by Kelly Simms, an Artistic Gymnast who has been representing Great Britain for the last 12 years.
  • Rehab and Recovery– Delivered by Louise Sugden, GB Para Powerlifter, along with her physiotherapist, Steve Leonard, and strength and conditioning coach, Roy Barber.
  • Nutrition with a Female Filter – Delivered by Ellie Olds, footballer for Fulham FC Women and Senior Nutritionist for Holroyd Howe.
  • Performance and the Menstrual Cycle – Delivered by Dr Emma Ross, Chief Scientific Officer at The Well HQ

The day closed with the opportunity for students and teachers to ask questions of a very impressive panel including:

  • Dame Denise Lewis
  • Sarah Hunter, CBE(England Rugby Captain)
  • Kate Haywood(GB Swimmer)
  • Fran Williams(Vitality Roses, England Netball and silver medallist in the England Netball World Cup squad 2023)
  • Jenny Mitton(Director and Women’s Sport Lead at M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment)
  • Dr Emma Ross(Former Head of Physiology at the English Institute of Sport. She was awarded the Sunday Times ‘Women of the Year Changemaker Award’ in recognition of her work to improve sport for women)


Some quotes from our Scholars:

“I had an amazing day and met lots of new people with a common love for sport. I learnt so much that I will take on board for the rest of my sporting journey, and how remarkable and incredible women are.” 

“I had an amazing day, and I learnt a lot. The talks were very informative and interesting, and I feel like I benefited a lot from the masterclass. It was very fun and cool being able to train with an Olympic sprinter. I loved meeting everyone there, especially Fran Williams.” 

“The Girls Go Gold experience was an interactive, informative, and interesting conference. It allowed us to take part and understand more about how women and girls have different experiences in sport, as well as how far sport has progressed for women over time.” 

“The day was eventful, we participated in our chosen masterclasses and listened to inspirational talks from female role models in sport. One of my highlights was making my own smoothie by cycling!” 

Categories: School Trips Sport