A Leicester woman has spoken of her pride at being nominated for the 2022 BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero of the Year award.
Leicester’s Rukhsana Hussain is one of eight people to have been shortlisted for the prestigious award, which is judged by a panel of experts from the community sport and volunteer sector.
In an explanation given for her nomination, the BBC describes Rukhsana as a “role model and a mentor, who’s determined to inspire women who have never played sport in their adult lives to give it a go.”
“She’s rallied local women, often in the face of criticism from other community members who disapproved of Muslim women participating in sport, to get them active and socialising,” they said in a statement.
“Breaking stereotypes and assumptions wherever she goes, Rukhsana is determined to make a positive difference.”
Since 2015, Rukhsana has been involved in voluntary work in the community through her organisation, ‘Outspoken’. However, last May she decided to get involved in the sporting arena by encouraging Muslim women to get involved in games of rounders, at Spinney Hill Park.
More recently, she has been encouraging those same women to take part in football and basketball, after taking up a role with Leicester City in the Community – one of the official charities of Leicester City Football Club.
Speaking about her nomination, Rukhsana said: “I feel extremely excited and privileged – it’s really nice to be recognised.
“Obviously I love what I do, and seeing the impact that it has is what drives me to do it. However, for someone to have taken the time to write that nomination has just made it even more worthwhile.
“I never dreamed of being invited to an event like this – it still hasn’t really sunk in!” added the mum of four, who also volunteers as a psychotherapist. “Although I’m nervous, it’s a great opportunity and a huge honour.”
The BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero of the Year award celebrates the best volunteers in sport, whose work is making a real difference in communities across the UK every day.
The other eight nominees are: Mike Alden from Bristol, Nooh Omar Ibrahim from Cardiff, Mary O’Hagan (Ballyronan), Anna Pim from Belfast, Dave Thompson from Aberdeen, Helen Thornton from Ibswich and Becca Todd from Bristol.
The winner will be revealed live on BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022 on Wednesday December 21 from 6.45pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.