NSW Rugby Women and Girls Development Officer Claudia Bell was last night named as Young Achiever of the Year at the NSW Office of Sport Her Sport Her Way Awards.
Joining the NSW Rugby team last year as a Development Officer, Claudia has since excelled in the position, building competitions, training coaches and match officials - all with the objective of increasing women and girls participation across the State.
In her short 12 months with the sport, Claudia has been instrumental in increasing the number of teams in the metro based girls 7s competition, with team numbers rising from 23 to 75.
She has also been making moves to improve her own education, achieving a Level Two Coaching Accreditation, Level One Match Official accreditation and becoming a World Rugby Trainer all within the space of a year.
Not only is Claudia involved in the game off the field, she has also represented Sydney University in both 7s and XVs, winning Championships trophies in both forms of the game and represented both her State in National 7s and her Country at the 2018 World University Rugby Championships in Namibia.
Claudia’s significant contributions to the advancement of women and girls sport in 2019 has earnt her the title of Young Achiever of the Year in the Her Sport Her Way awards, something which she is extremely humbled by.
“It’s a huge honour to be recognised for such a prestigious award. I feel very grateful and proud to be rewarded for the hard work that we as women in sport ambassadors put in,” Claudia said.
“Rugby was traditionally a male dominated sport, but if we can continue to highlight the incredible achievements and abilities that women within rugby constantly display, it enables us to establish the strength and power of women within sport, setting an equal playing field of genders,” she said.
But for Claudia, her passion stems from seeing the spark ignite in other women like it did for her.
“I get an overwhelming feeling of pride in the development and growth of women’s rugby,” Claudia said.
“I enjoy seeing the level of ability and strength that girls exert on the field and the amount of respect and interest in the girls game that is starting to be established,” she said.
“I love everything about women’s rugby, as there’s not only opportunities now for us to participate and thrive in the game, but chances for us to pursue jobs and careers in the sport we’re equally as passionate about.”
When reflecting on the growth she has witnessed in the past 12 months, Claudia hoped that it will continue in the same direction, with the 2020 season on the horizon.
“My ultimate goal for 2020 is to create even more opportunities for girls to participate in the game,” Bell said.
“This includes pushing the development of the pathway system for the XVS program, while refining and enhancing the 7s programs which are currently in place,” she said.
“I hope that in doing so, we’ll be able to create opportunities for girls of all shapes and sizes to experience our great game of rugby union.”
NSW Rugby General Manager of Community, Mark Green, applauded Claudia on her award and hard work.
“Claudia is a true ambassador for our game, in particular in pursuing the development and growth of womens and girls rugby across New South Wales.
“In her short time as a Development Officer with NSW Rugby, Claudia has turned her passion for the game into a career and is helping so many make the most of the opportunities our great game offers.
“Congratulations to Claudia and we hope her great efforts both on and off the field inspire more women to get into rugby,” he said.