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OBE rewards Brunel Professor's work to protect child athletes


Professor Celia Brackenridge, a pioneering campaigner and researcher into gender equality and child abuse in sport, has received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s list.

Professor Brackenridge worked from 2005 until she retired in 2010 as Director of the Centre for Youth Sport and Athlete Welfare, at Brunel University. She is now research professor and a member of the Brunel Centre for Sport, Health and Wellbeing.

She is also Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the 2012 International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS), the global scientific conference that precedes each Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Celia was delighted with the honour, which was awarded for services to Equality and Child Protection in Sport. “This came as a complete bolt from the blue,” she said. “This award is also for all the people who have helped me, who include the NSPCC and my research colleagues.”

She is proud that her work has raised the issue of the abuse and sexual abuse of child athletes into “the mainstream” and that there is now an official policy to protect them.

“It’s difficult for an athlete to talk about their negative experiences. Every Olympics puts pressure on athletes to win medals, and the UK Government is hoping for great things from the UK teams,” she said.

“It’s important that coaches treat the athletes as people first and foremost, and as potential medal-winners second.”

Celia, who is a founder member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, was an early campaigner for gender equality in sport, an issue with which she feels far less progress has been made.

“For example, the 10 contenders for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year did not include one single woman and we get much less media coverage. The media feel that looks are more important than achievement. There is still a long way to go.”

Her honour has been welcomed by the University and her colleagues, who have been vocal in congratulating her.

Ian Rivers, Professor of Human Development at Brunel University, said, “It is a testament to Celia’s ground-breaking and tireless efforts in promoting the protection of young people in sport. This is a very proud moment for us in Sport Sciences to have a colleague recognised by the Crown for her contribution nationally and internationally.”


Notes to Editors

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