Birmingham 2022 Legacy Project

British Wrestling’s 2021-25 strategy specifically identified female participation as a desired growth area, and the organisation has committed to several female-focused projects. From 2022 to 2024 we ran an initiative called The Legacy Project which has been funded by Sport England to have a lasting national impact from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

The project launched in October 2022. Since then, we have seen a spike in female engagement in wrestling. Through the project, we funded 12 projects that all share the same primary focus – creating an environment in which females can thrive.  We have worked with over 205 females and trained 11 female coaches who are now active members within the wrestling world and continue working with more females to further increase engagement. Our evaluation demonstrates that 73% of participants in the project are more active now than before the project began. We’ve also seen significantly positive responses across a range of wellbeing indicators for the respondents that demonstrate the benefits of physical activity found through wrestling.

Tackling Inequalities Through Wrestling

Women face unique barriers and challenges that hinder participation in wrestling. These barriers include a lack of financial support, lack of access to facilities and resources, cultural stereotypes, and limited awareness or exposure to the sport. In December 2022 the project hosted a focus group at the Clinton hotel in the heart of Birmingham. The women and girls invited for their current involvement in wrestling had the chance to get involved in fun games and workshops whilst having honest conversations about the type of barriers women have faced and continue to face in the sport of wrestling. Female coaches, referees, athletes and even parents of female athletes had a wealth of knowledge to share which was incredibly valuable in designing the project work.

The project has identified and addressed some of these barriers by funding 12 local projects specifically to grow female participation in the sport. The majority of the projects are exclusive to just women and girls. Learning from established insight that identifies the desire and need for female coaches we have trained 11 female coaches to make wrestling more accessible and inclusive for individuals from these communities.

By specifically targeting female participation, the project empowers women and girls from all backgrounds to engage in physical activity, develop athletic skills, and build confidence. It provides opportunities for women and girls to challenge gender norms, break down stereotypes, and pursue their passions in a traditionally male-dominated sport.

Participation in sports, including wrestling, has numerous physical, mental, and social health benefits. By increasing female participation, the project promotes healthier lifestyles and overall well-being among participants. It encourages individuals to stay active, build strength and endurance, and develop important life skills such as teamwork, resilience, and problem-solving. 

Project Impact

The Legacy Project delivered the following:

  • 8 funded female only projects and 3 mixed projects
  • 210 new participants
  • 11 new female coaches
  • 2 new female referees
  • 4 female only open mat events
  • 1 female-only competition – Fierce Females

These projects provided the following outcomes for the women and girls involved:

  • 73% of participants were more active as a result of the project
  • 97% confirmed that the project was the main reason they were more active
  • Compared to national averages participants in the projects reported higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness

“This initiative is important to me because it empowers women and girls. It creates an inclusive environment where they can thrive and be matched equally. Seeing women and girls gain confidence and excel in a sport traditionally dominated by men is incredibly rewarding.

Building a strong, supportive community for female wrestlers is crucial. One of my goals with this initiative is to encourage more women and girls to take up wrestling. By highlighting role models and creating tailored programs, we can inspire the next generation of female wrestlers.”

Sahara Mohammed, Women and Girls Development Officer

The Future

Building on the success of the Legacy Project and the positive feedback we’ve received, we recognise the ongoing need to support and empower women and girls in wrestling. Therefore, we are excited to announce a new initiative focused on:

  • Creating stronger connections between performance and grassroots female wrestling to ensure a cohesive and supportive development pathway.
  • Organizing Female-Centred Events
  • Hosting more events specifically designed for female wrestlers, providing a safe and encouraging environment for competition and growth.
  • Addressing Important Topics covering issues that matter most to female wrestlers, including health, wellness, and the unique challenges they face in the sport.

This initiative aims to continue the momentum of the Legacy Project and further enhance the opportunities and support available for women and girls in wrestling.


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