Australian track and field athlete Caytlyn Sharp has an increased presence on social media thanks to the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) #WeAreSport campaign.
#WeAreSport aims to give female athletes the tools and knowledge to use social media more effectively to promote their lives as an athlete. This will enable them to inspire other women and girls to try sport.
Eleven athletes from around the world have been involved. Each has taken part in an online seminar with the support of an administrator.
Sharp is an World Intellectual Impairment Sport world champion in high jump II1 and the national record holder in the 200m. Before her involvement in the project, the Australian only had an athlete page on Facebook. So keen was the 15-year-old to get started, she created an Instagram account as soon as she was a confirmed #SportChampion for #WeAreSport in March. Then in August, despite some reservations about the platform, Sharp started a Twitter account during the seminar.
Sharp, who started athletics when she was eight, now has nearly 300 followers and her fan base is growing every day. The athlete has been using the hints and tips she picked-up to attract more followers.
Sharp said she enjoyed learning about social media and now has more confidence in using it. The new knowledge will stand her in good stead as she prepares for her home 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Brisbane.
Anula Costa is Sharp’s coach and also the nominated administrator, supporting the young athlete with her social media activities alongside Sharp’s mother Cindy. Costa was put forward by Sport Inclusion Australia, the World Intellectual Impairment Sport member in the country, alongside Chantel Lewis.
“The seminar was useful with good tips,” Costa said. “The most useful part of the seminar for me was following up steps on e-platforms. It was great.
“I have seen Caitlyn has improved and doing well. I am looking forward to progress and increased public awareness.”
As well as supporting the current participants, it is hoped that the administrators can use the skills they have learned to encourage other athletes to use social media.
#WeAreSport is supported by the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the IPC, through their 2017 Grant Support Programme.
All materials used during the seminars, including a Quick Start Guide to Social Media and a longer guide, are available in a variety of languages for all World Intellectual Impairment Sport members to use here.