Be it rugby league, Australian rules football, touch football, motorsport or triathlons, women have made it known that gender is not a factor for competing at an elite level. A proud sponsor of women in sport for over a decade, Harvey Norman is a strong supporter of female athletes getting the recognition they deserve.
Harvey Norman recently teamed up with Women’s Health magazine to bring you Team Harvey – five best-in-class women sports stars.
We took the opportunity to get in touch with these top sports women and find out what makes them tick. If you’re looking for inspiration, it’s right here, from the heart of exceptionally talented female athletes at the top of their game.
Amanda Farrugia – Captain, GIANTS AFLW Team
Challenging the Social Stereotypes
Courage and preparation are words to live by for the Captain of the GIANTS AFLW Team, Amanda Farrugia.
Farrugia strongly believes, “A woman is strong when she follows her passion, without hesitation or the need to justify herself. This might sound straight forward, but so many women encounter obstacles in fulfilling their dreams because of social pressures or expectations.”
For Farrugia, this belief is inspired by the courage shown by athletes in various moments within the game, as well as in their preparation to become professional AFL players.
“An athlete may show courage by going back with the flight of the ball to take a mark, or putting their head over the ball with no regard for what is coming towards them. Others show courage by overcoming adversity, naysayers and social stigma to pursue their passion for the game. That takes courage also.”
“Harvey Norman have been the catalyst for much of the professionalism that’s become synonymous with women’s sport in Australia,” says Farrugia, “Their commitment is much more than just about financial investment. For us at the GIANTS, it is important to know that an organisation believes in the players, the clubs and the brand of football we bring to the public. Katie Page is responsible for much of this and we cannot thank her enough.”
To see women in sport be equally celebrated as their male counterparts is a future Farrugia looks forward to.
Amanda Farrugia is pictured wearing the Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Watch in Frost Blue
Leah Percy – NRL Touch Football Player
Role Model for the Next Generation
Leah Percy, NRL touch football player and full-time mum says:
“Life can be full on at times and I think sport is one of the greatest outlets one can have. It inspires you to spend time doing something you really enjoy, to get fit, to meet new friends and create plenty of memories.”
She goes on to say:
“Sport can also create some great role models for the next generation to look up to and learn from. We have had many role models and pioneers who have had to deal with so much to get us where we are today.”
Percy feels the landscape is now fortunate and women are gaining the attention and exposure deserving of playing on a scale equal to men. An opportunity for her daughter to grow up in a time where female atheletes are celebrated in and out of the sports arena is incentive enough for Percy.
“Having Harvey Norman onboard with Touch Football Australia has helped our sport gain exposure and given our amateur sport a professional feel. On a representative level it has helped with some funding for our Australian teams who recently competed in a trans Tasman series,” says Percy.
“For me personally the added sponsorship has helped as I travel with my partner and baby quite often to train and play in the sport I love.”
Percy is pictured here wearing the Project Nursery Mum + Bub Smartband Tracker
Sam Bremner – Rugby League Player, Jillaroos
Playing for Passion
Having grown up in a family and community that loves rugby league, Jillaroos player, Sam Bremner strongly believes that NRL is more than just a sport; it is a culture full of passion, support and mateship.
When asked what inspires her the most, Bremner says:
“As much as training can be hard, and to stay constantly motivated can be extremely challenging, I love striving towards goals.”
“Nothing beats that moment at the end of a tough game, knowing that all yours and your team mates’ hard work has just paid off – it makes it ALL worth it.”
When we asked what she’d like the future of women’s sports in Australia to be like, Bremner was quick to reply:
“I would love for women’s sports to be supported to the extent where the struggle of working a full time job, full time training, with study, family and other commitments is not an issue anymore.”
Bremner has her own personal gym and when she isn’t playing NRL, Bremner specialises in group fitness, healthy living and motivation.
Bremner is pictured here wearing the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smart Watch in Black
Simona De Silvestro – Supercars Driver
Bringing Women to the Fast Lane
Simona De Silvestro, as a female in Supercars, is the first full time driver in the Supercars Championship in Australia and is trailblazing her way to cementing the fact that with motorsport, gender truly doesn’t matter.
Her inspiration? De Silvestro answers:
“Elite sports are about being on the edge and also on the limit of yourself. To witness other athletes from other sports performing at that limit is very inspirational. So really, when it comes down to it I’m just inspired by the competitiveness of sport.”
Preparation is key for ultimate perfomance and motivation for De Silvestro comes from the knowledge that there is no room for second chances.
“It is part of my everyday life to keep training. There’s so many different elements that go into getting a race car to go fast. I need to make sure that I am doing all I can to maximise myself. I know that the better I train, the better I can race. Knowing that I’ve prepared as much as possible gives me extra motivation.”
If you want to find out more about De Silvestro, check out our exclusive blog on this racing lady, In the Fast Lane with Simona De Silvestro.
De Silverstro is pictured wearing the Fitbit Blaze™ Smart Fitness watch in Slim Pink & Gold
Katie Kelly – Australian Paratriathlete
Changing the Present for a Better Future
Katie Kelly, Australian Paralympian and gold medallist in 2016 Rio Paralympics, firmly believes women wanting to represent Australia on the international stage should let nothing stand in their way.
“I reached out to Harvey Norman some 12 months prior to my campaign to try and qualify for the Australian Paralympic Team in the sport of Paratriathlon,” confides Kelly.
“Having worked in sports marketing in my professional career, I certainly understand the nature of sponsorship and why companies may or may not be able to lend their support. I really didn’t expect a large Australian company like Harvey Norman to be sponsoring someone like myself with very little profile and certainly one who is not in the mass market. But there it was!”
Kelly is excited to see the popularity of women’s sport growing and increasingly, women’s para sport.
“On a broader scale, the biggest impact Harvey Norman has made is ensuring Women’s sport is now getting more visibility on our screens. On a personal level, Harvey Norman’s support has helped me achieve the ultimate by representing Australia and winning the Gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The follow on effect of this is that I’ve now been able to set up my own foundation – Sport Access Foundation, which provides grants for future aspiring young Australian children living with a disability to play sport.”
Kelly is pictured wearing the Polar M430 GPS Running Watch in Orange
To see the achievements of top sports women and get an insight into their continuing journey sets an invaluable example for women in sport everywhere. For more inspiration and Harvey Norman’s work with women in sport, check out our women in league blog.
Harvey's HQ Staff Writer