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How do you see the impact of your position in ISF, for girls?
I always try to project a positive image of women in my position, especially if I feel that this may impact how young girls behave and view themselves. Hopefully, when young girls see that a woman can hold an important position, that may also influence them, and then they might aspire to have a positive image of themselves and influence other girls as well.
What is the message you would like to address to young girls on the importance of practicing school sport?
School sport provides an avenue for young girls to interact with other young girls who have the same interests as them. Through school sport, they also have the opportunity to meet other young girls and/or women who are positive role models and can influence them on how they conduct themselves and can guide them on how they may want to live their lives in the future.
What would you say to the public authority leaders regarding investment in school sport?
School sport is an effective tool in providing young girls and boys the opportunity to not just put their talents to good use but also provides a place to interact with other youths and discover role models that could give them something to aim for while being in an environment where they can be guided and moulded towards becoming role models themselves. Investing in school sport is like investing in a positive future for youth.
In your opinion, how important are international sport events for the youth populationand for young girls?
International events are always a great opportunity to meet people who may have the same interests, but who come from different backgrounds. It provides insight into how other people live and think and can influence how one views oneself, as well as provide a better understanding and acceptance of other people’s views. This is even more important for youth as it provides them an early start in understanding other cultures and can help shape them into a kind of person who is more universal in thinking, and to a certain extent perhaps even more compassionate.
How did you manage in your sport environment (schools, club, federations...) through the COVID-19 situation, specifically for girls and what are the specific challenges for them?
Unfortunately, the pandemic has temporarily put a stop to all group sports activities in my country. However, sports communities, schools, sports federations have all made sure to continue sports activities, albeit online only. They have provided a regular routine to make sure that young girls and boys continue to move and engage in sports despite challenging circumstances. The challenge is more on young girls who may come from families who are not financially well off who may not always have access to these online events due to poor internet connection. Space may also be an issue as not all homes may have enough space where they could engage in physical activities.
Message from ISF President Laurent Petrynka & ISF Gender Equality Committee Chair Valérie Lebondo
About Maria Leonor Estampador
From the Philippines, Maria Leonor Estampador is the ISF Fencing Technical Commission Coordinator, and has competed, coached, and refereed, on the international fencing stage for the better part of 25 years. Member of the Communications Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Maria Leonor is also a member of the Women and Fencing Council of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) and was appointed to the Women in Sports Commission of the Philippine Olympic Committee this year.
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