'Brilliant': Festival Encourages Forces Women To Harness Power Of Sport

Women from across the military have been competing in the Female Festival of Sport in Scotland...

Women from across the military have been competing in the Female Festival of Sport in Scotland.

Teams from across the country gathered at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh to take part in the two-day event.

It's hoped it'll encourage more women, who make up around 10% of Armed Forces personnel, to participate in sport.

Female Festival Of Sport 2017

With both the Army and RAF represented, it's a chance for women to take centre stage.

The competitors take part in a variety of events over the two days, including indoor rowing, swimming, football and netball.

There was a strong emphasis at the festival on sports which harness the power of teamwork, helping troops build on the skills they learn in their military lives.

Colonel Stephanie Jackman, of 51st Infantry Brigade, said:

"[Sport is] an amazing tool for team building, developing personal strengths and just finding out about yourself.

"The forces are very much about how to work with other people. You have to rely on the person next to you."

It's the second time the Female Festival of Sport has been held. The first took place two years ago to help to promote a sense of camaraderie between female athletes across the military.

RAF veteran Kim Moran-Hogg said:

"I think it's fantastic to see more and more women every year getting out and getting involved in sport.

The event aims to promote new sports to the competitors, as well as encouraging them to take part in the ones they already enjoy. Kim added:

"I think one of the things that's brilliant about this event is that it doesn't matter what level you're actually playing the sport at. You can even come along and have a go at... something you've never tried before."

Although there's a level of competitiveness at the festival, the main aim is to encourage greater participation in sport.

Female Festival Of Sport 2017

Private Ashley Gallagher, of 105th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: "This is awesome. It gets everybody together.

"People who've never actually played sport before can come along to this and play football, badminton, squash [and] get to know the sports.

"It's great... just to get everybody involved."

A rugby taster session put on by coaches from the Scottish Rugby Union saw a number of women take part who hadn't played before.

It's hoped some will catch the bug and pursue it further. Greenock Wanderers player Caitlyn Haldane was one of those helping to run the session. She said:

"The aim... is to get girls to come along to some of our rugby clubs... to give it a proper go.

"In Edinburgh there's loads of women's teams so it's important for us to guide them to go."

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