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Zuleikha Chikh

UCLan University Grassroots HUB Football & Futsal Activator, United Kingdom

Zuleikha Chikh is founder of University of Central Lancashire Women’s Futsal Club. She is passionate about increasing the representation of people from ethnic minorities in leadership positions in the football industry. Using the power of sport, she brings women together from different backgrounds, boosts their confidence and creates leaders. She holds a number of other positions, including Coach at Sir Tom Finney Football Club, Youth Sport Trust Team Leader, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Football Development Student Management Group, Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Youth Panel and Lancashire FA Inclusion Advisory Group.

 

What is your favourite sport? My favourite sport is futsal.  I love how fast paced the game is and how you can be skilful with the ball in tight spaces.
What drives you? I enjoy having a positive impact on others whether it’s boosting their confidence or helping them to unwind and enjoy the social elements sport brings.  I understand sport has the power to bring people together from different backgrounds, create positive relationships and break down barriers and I want to be a part of that.
What was your defining moment to get to where you are now? My defining moment to get to where I am now would be receiving the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Higher Education Hero Award 2017/18 for commitment and motivation to the growth of women’s futsal, promoting best practice and volunteering with British Red Cross helping integrate refugees and asylum seekers into the community as a coach with Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre.  This recognition gave me the confidence to present at live and international video conferences, network with key individuals at the FA and pursue roles with Lancashire FA managing a disability league, BUCS Football Development Student Management Group working on exciting projects and helping other young girls to maximise their potential through my latest role as Youth Sport Trust Team Leader.
What is your first sporting memory? When I was 9 years old I used to train in gymnastics and then I moved on to trampolining gymnastics.  I started to compete in regional competitions and I entered myself and my trampolining partner to perform a synchronized routine at the age of 14.  Achieving first place was fantastic and I still remember all the practice we did before the competition and then the result, having the opportunity to enjoy the moment.  I knew from that point I wanted to be involved in sport.
Who is your inspirational woman in sport? Serena Williams is my biggest inspiration in sport.  Not only is she a beautiful strong tennis athlete, but she is a role model for so many young girls.  Her achievements not only on the court but off the court are highly impressive and she stands up for what she believes in, which is a sign of real strength.  Her new Nike advert “Dream Crazy” addresses gender inequality in sport and inspires females to be confident, believe in themselves and chase their dreams.  She has inspired me to be an active citizen and create change in my community and abroad.
Why is sport important? Sport can bring people together, create a sense of community and empower disadvantaged groups.  It increases physical, psychological and social wellbeing and gives players a sense of belonging.  Sport is used to educate people in developing countries to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention. Sport helps people develop confidence, leadership, communication and teamwork skills which are needed in everyday life.  Those that take part in sport are generally healthier, have a high level of educational attainment and more sociable.  Sport is a great tool for women’s empowerment to create leaders, reduce marginalisation and dismantle stereotypes.