The new UK Athletics vice-president believes it is vital that sports governance starts to more accurately reflect the sport and the country’s demographic
New UK Athletics vice-president Donna Fraser is hopeful that athletics is leading the way in terms of a change in attitudes toward black, Asian and minority ethnicities (BAME) representation at the top of sports administration.
Fraser, 42, will take up her new position at the UKA AGM on December 4 after the governing body announced her appointment three weeks ago.
The news of Fraser’s appointment followed UKA’s decision to select former Great Britain sprinter Jason Gardener as Lynn Davies’ successor as president of the organisation, and Fraser, who finished fourth in the 400m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, believes that it is vital that sports governance starts to more accurately reflect the sport and the country’s demographic.
“I’d like to think athletics is leading the way because it’s the sport that I adore, and I hope that we can instil some change across all sports,” the double world 4x400m bronze medallist told Athletics Weekly. “It’s needed, there’s talent out there but at the same time if they’re not stepping up to the plate and not able to make those changes and do a great job, irrespective of their gender, then that’s how it’s got to be. If we’re leading the way in terms of diversity in inclusion then that’s a really good thing.
“I know in large organisations that is the top of their priorities at the moment to make sure that it’s all about retention but also attraction, so we have to reflect what’s happening within the sport.
“Athletics does seem to bring through a lot more black talent, possibly more so than white talent. That is changing over the years, don’t get me wrong, that has definitely changed. The stigma of there’s only black sprinters, that has changed because we’ve got many other sprinters, but we have to reflect our sport at the end of the day irrespective of the gender or race.”
Fraser was forced to retire from the sport in 2009 as she battled breast cancer, but made an inspirational return three years later at 39.
Having recently stepped down from a presidential role at the South of England Athletic Association, Fraser has retained strong links within the sport at a local level and has developed a strong understanding of issues which exist at club level.
She feels her drive and enthusiasm will be reflected in her approach, and hopes that UKA saw this in their decision as opposed to any box-ticking in terms of ethnic representation.
Fraser said: “For me, I don’t take on anything I don’t feel I can give 110% and try to make that difference and I think I can offer that with my knowledge and expertise.
“I’d hope that I wasn’t put in post to make that quota at all and they see I can add value.
“I suspect that it (her impact) will be immediate, and that’s not what will be driven from what happens from that meeting. It will be by me.
“I’m very much a ‘get stuck in’ type of person. Once I’m in it that’s it. Let’s go with it, and I’m sure it’s not going to be any easy road but I’m definitely going to give it my best shot.”