By Emily Goddard

The IOC has awarded Sharlene Nand the Women in Sport Achievement Diploma ©FASANOCSharlene Nand, secretary of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee Medical Commission, has been awarded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sport Achievement Diploma.

The physiotherapist, who is also President of the Fiji Weightlifting Association, received the honour from IOC member Robin Mitchell in recognition of her work to promote the participation of women and girls in sport.

Mitchell also praised Nand personally for her dedication to the cause.

"Honestly I'm stunned but very pleased because it shows our work is being appreciated and recognised," Nand said.

"Currently we are doing a lot of work in terms of getting women to come into sports whether it is as a player, administration level or coaching.

"There have been a lot of changes with regards to the different phases of life and as they [women] go on their priority changes and sport comes second if not last.

"There is a struggle to get a lot of people in so what we are doing is facilitating workshops in leadership, conflict management, all various areas where women can come on board."

Sharlene Nand (right) has been part of Fiji's medical team at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 ©FASANOCSharlene Nand (right) has been part of Fiji's medical team at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 ©FASANOC

Nand added: "Some may ask why is it important to get women involved in sports and I say why not get women involved in sports.

"Here in Fiji, sports play a big part, whether it be played leisurely or competitively and this is something women can venture out into.

"As a physiotherapist, we normally focus on good health, prevention of non-communicable diseases, keeping mobile and active, so women's involvement in sports we are catering for them and basically looking after their health."

Nand started her career in sport with Team Fiji at their home Pacific Games in Suva in 2003.

She has gone on to be the national team physiotherapist at every Pacific Games since, as well as at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

She also supported Paralympic high jump gold medallist Iliesa Delana and serves as a volunteer administrator, conducting educational programmes for team Fiji members and helping to rehabilitate injured athletes by overseeing their recovery programmes.

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