London Youth Games Chair Mickela Hall-Ramsay is determined to bring the sport to the masses | news
Mickela Hall-Ramsay, the youngest chairman of the London Youth Games and the first from an ethnically diverse background, speaks to Sky Sports News about her journey and her dreams.
Mickela Hall-Ramsay is holding a coaching session for some local teenagers on a small piece of artificial turf at the base of a railway embankment that runs next to Markfield Park in South Tottenham.
Despite occasional rain and single-digit temperatures, the session was eagerly awaited. It’s spring 2021 and the first steps out of lockdown are being taken. Like all youth across the country, these Haringey participants suffered immensely during the pandemic. Without grassroots sports and organized activities, one of the most populated areas in London was unable to provide an outlet for its youth.
Earlier this year, Hall-Ramsay was named chairman of the London Youth Games, the youngest person to ever hold the role and the first to come from an ethnically diverse background.
The London Youth Games are Europe’s largest youth sports festival, with over 125,000 young Londoners participating in the city’s 33 boroughs each year. It has harnessed the power of competitive sports to create life-changing opportunities for young Londoners since 1977 and has been a stepping stone to realizing their potential in life for many, including Dina Asher-Smith, Raheem Sterling, Mo Farah, Linford Christie and David Weir .
“What I really love about attending the London Youth Games is the personal connection I have with the Games,” says Hall-Ramsay.
“I owe everything I have achieved today in part to my experience at the London Youth Games. When I grew up in London, exercise was a huge part of my life and it helped me build my confidence. “
Raheem Sterling played football for Brent at the London Youth Games
Hall-Ramsay competed for Haringey in the Games between 2000 and 2004 and won basketball gold medals. Most recently, she volunteered in 2013 and 2014 to run Haringey’s female basketball team.
“Haringey is at home, I love it here because my family and friends are here,” explains the 34-year-old.
“I know it like the back of my hand. But I am not aware of the deprivations in the district and the crime that takes place here. For me, it’s a combination of sadness and pride at risk, lives that are wasted simply because they don’t have the support and mechanisms to thrive.
“Proud comes when you walk past the Spurs stadium and see the sporting heritage in the district and know how many great athletes are from the area. Sport is an important way out of adversity because it enables young people to find a passion, and it provides them with “various learning tools in a safe environment.”
Dina Asher-Smith competed for Bromley at the London Youth Games
The sudden death of her sister, who was born with Down syndrome, along with a surge in juvenile delinquency and cuts in youth welfare, led Hall-Ramsay to start the HR Sports Academy in 2008 at the tender age of 21 – brother Christian is too Director – Provides sports coaching, education, and community development programs in Haringey.
“Losing my sister changed my career path,” adds Hall-Ramsay.
“When I lost my sister despite being unrelated, juvenile delinquency was at its peak and I really wanted to give young people the opportunity to have positive role models. To know that I was lucky enough to be born without.” having a disability and just being alive, I really wanted others to see the value of life and make the most of it. “
The global pandemic resulted in the 2021 London Youth Games being moved to a virtual event to bring young Londoners together during the third lockdown.
“The games worked amazingly and quickly moved to online delivery,” says Hall-Ramsay.
Head Lass Ashleigh Wicheard says she is “one of the lucky few” to have had a positive experience in horse racing, but believes that more representation is needed to improve diversity within the sport.
“The participation rate of those who took part uniquely online is over 70,000. The online games have increased their reach and can now use this dynamic to attract as many young people as possible.”
Hall-Ramsay’s appointment will run for a minimum of three years. She hopes the role will allow her to bring together those who have been marginalized.
“I think there was a lack of role models, especially for those who were underrepresented,” she says.
“I want to empower women and girls to get involved in sport and in leadership positions. I also believe that those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds see this as a way to develop further. Young people from different backgrounds, races and ethnicities should be able to see themselves in leadership positions.
Sky’s Gail Davis spent the day with Westminster City Council, which uses sport and community to empower young people and inspire equality and diversity
“I really hope that my appointment enables people to see that I am an authentic voice who is there to speak for and represent them. Young people’s distancing from authority comes with the understanding that they want to be around or listen to them.
“It’s also the way you approach young people. If you are unable to approach them respectfully in order to win them back, they will be extremely difficult to work with.”
With the Virtual Inclusive Games concluded in April, Hall-Ramsay is now turning her attention to the future with the aim of increasing awareness and participation in the arena where she acquired so many life skills.
“To be appointed as the youngest professor is a great feeling,” she sums up. “And I want to make the Games accessible to as many young Londoners as possible.”