This International Women’s Day, 2021, the Nottingham Sport caught up with several of Nottinghamshire’s finest, sporting ladies, to chat about #ChooseToChallenge.
In moving completely outside the box we caught up with the multi-disciplined, well-travelled, 20-year-old, Aimee Thorpe.
Born in Southampton, residing in Glasgow, Aimee can also count America and Canada among her places of residence, and, having, started out young, has packed in competitive Judo, Ice Hockey, and Ball Hockey, into those youthful years – not that she’s complaining.
Firstly though, how does the county of Nottinghamshire come into it all?
Well, the Vikings boss, Benny Tring, is to blame for that, and it’s because of him, she’s playing, alongside her male counterparts, for the Nottingham Vikings (she also does similar in Ice Hockey, for the University of Glasgow).
“(Laughing) well that’s a story in itself that is,” began Aimee.
“I’d been selected for the U20s Worlds in Ice Hockey when I was what, 17/18-years-old, and was asked to go to some training camps.
“My mother even showed up, unexpectedly, and Benny, well he was the coach, so I got to know him, and his team, rather well, both professionally and personally.
“I really like his style of coaching, and he just got me, and my abilities, how I played; we played really well out there, even if it was somewhat surreal for me, and I guess I became a mother figure to the rest of the (much younger) squad.
“Anyway, afterwards, we kept in touch, and soon we’d start talking about the (Nottingham) Vikings, and ball hockey, and whether I could make playing for them possible.
“Although I didn’t drive at the time, I knew travelling wouldn’t be an issue as my mother used to take me all over when I was competing in my early, Judo days.
“I also gave Benny a tempting offer as well with the option to bring my partner, Matt Mundt, to the club, who was the top point’s scorer in Scotland, and now, we love it there.”
Experiencing mixed-sex sport, on several occasions, throughout her young life, and in her own sporting fields – yes, she’s even opposed, and beaten, one of the opposite sex after he had the idea of calling her out, Aimee has continued to push the boundaries, bettering herself as she traverses the trials and tribulations which life has to offer.
Her thoughts, unique, insightful, and rightly so, in differing measures, highlights the key difference as being equally valid reasons for a perceived lack of equality, in some sports at least, whilst also being aware that much more can be done.
“I’ve always found equality in sports really interesting,” explained Aimee.
“The thing is though, is the biology, it’s so very different between the two sexes, so it would actually depend upon the sport, as well as the level, in which you’re playing at, that matters the most.
“Myself, and Matt, we talk about this often, and you do need to really think about it.”
Often thought of as being the ‘glass ceiling’ that needs breaking through, it is something which has been witnessed in say darts, in recent times, with the ongoing progress of Fallon Sherrock, among other sporting disciplines, opening up more.
“It does seem to be a bigger achievement when a women does something, breaks into the male ‘domain’ so to speak,” continued Aimee.
“Then, when it happens, it’s a surprise, like what happened with Fallon in the darts, it surprised me but was really great to see.
“But, everything is progressing and that’s really good to see because it’s unfair that women have to fight to have a similar standing to men.”
In being universally accepted in both the Vikings set-up, and that of Ball Hockey on the whole, and from the off, Aimee continues to build relationships, irrespective of her sporting endeavours, even if she’s the only female in both the Nottingham, and Glasgow teams, but overall doesn’t have any issues.
Aimee’s ongoing strength, and will to succeed, comes from that instilled in her by her Judo coach, John Buchanan.
“He’s been a big inspiration, a guide, from when I was at least eight-years-old,” concluded Aimee.
“I started quite young and did rather well, quite quickly, and it wouldn’t have been possible without him, and it’s because of him I’ve also won numerous championships.
“He’s so approachable, down-to-earth, and has supported me a lot, even when I was living abroad.”
To follow the progress of Aimee Thorpe, head over to Twitter and follow @AimeeThorpe9
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @AimeeThorpe9 Aimee with her partner and team-mate Matt Mundt.