Muslim sport volunteer from Harrow nominated for Woman of the Year
By David Hardiman, Reporter
A footballer who campaigns for more opportunities in sport for Muslim women has been recognised as a ‘woman of the year’.
Rimla Akhtar, 30, has been chairwoman of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation in Station Road, Harrow, for seven years and works to make sport more accessible though providing female-only training sessions and coaching programmes.
The chartered accountant, who captained the British Muslim Women’s football team in 2005 and played cricket for her county as a teenager, has been selected as one of 400 women to be recognised by the Women of the Year scheme.
Ms Akhtar worked with Olympic organisers to advise them on female representation at London 2012, and recently helped to extend the charity’s programmes to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.
She said it was “lovely” to receive an invitation to the annual Women of the Year lunch, which recognises the achievements of those across the UK who are deemed to have made a special contribution.
She added: “I’m a grass roots girl at heart – I like to go about my work quietly and get on with what I need to do, so receiving this kind of recognition is incredibly pleasing on a personal level.
“Any event which brings women together to recognise our achievements is a fantastic one, and the lunch is such a unique opportunity to meet some remarkable individuals.”
Previous nominees for the scheme, which has been running since 1955, include Annie Lennox, Katie Piper and Lulu, and five of the 400 women will receive a special award for their efforts on October 22.