Specialized-lululemon riders in London for Right to Play
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Friday, August 03, 2012

Specialized-lululemon riders in London for Right to Play

by Ben Atkins at 4:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Eight women riders link to Rwandan children on live video feed

specialized-lululemonEight riders from Specialized-lululemon attended an even organised by charity Right to Play in the city of London yesterday, where they spoke live to children in the central African republic of Rwanda. Right to Play is the team’s official charity - as it was to HTC-Highroad, which the team was formed from at the end of last year - it works in more than 20 countries in the World, using “the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity.”

Chloe Hosking (Australia), Clara Hughes (Canada), Trixi Worrack (Germany), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Amber Neben (USA), Evie Stevens (USA), Katie Colclough (GB) and Loren Rowney (Australia) were the athlete ambassadors present; the first six of whom had ridden Sunday’s rainy road race, while Hughes, Worrack, Fahlin and Neben had ridden the Wednesday’s time trial.

The main event of the proceedings was the live video link to a group of around 30 children at a Right to Play centre in the Rwandan capital Kigali, where the riders had a chance to see the work of the charity, and the children were able to ask questions. People on both sides of the link also demonstrated some dancing skills, the highlight of which was Evie Stevens’ demonstration of ‘the worm’.

Central to the Right to Play philosophy is the specific empowerment of girls, which is obviously an issue close the the women riders’ hearts.

“Listening to them talk about the gender issues – the fact that little girls don’t always get the opportunities and Right To Play is there trying to open doors for those girls to play; it’s so neat,” said Neben. “Sport is universal, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female

“It opens opportunities for kids to learn to set goals, to be disciplined, to work hard; to learn how to succeed, to learn how to fail, to keep trying – all of those things. You see it happening.”

Hughes has been an athlete ambassador for a number of years, independent to the Specialized-lululemon team, and has visited Right to Play centres in a number of countries, including Rwanda. The Canadian joked with the children in French, as well as demonstrating - with Stevens - one of the games that is played to break down barriers.

As well as their specific roles as ambassadors for Right to Play in some of the poorest parts of the World, the riders are also keen to be seen as role models for girls, and encourage them to take up sport as a career.

“There are so many fathers out there that want to give their little girl a chance,” said Hughes, “and they might see that [women’s cycling] is a way to give their girl a chance to do something cool or to support women and young girls doing something that displays a woman in a beautiful and strong and healthy way.”

It was also announced at the event that Hughes has joined Right to Play’s International Board of Directors.

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