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Bianca Fernandez-Clark recognised for promoting diversity and inclusion in triathlon

Published:

Bianca Fernandez-Clark was awarded British Triathlon’s inaugural Joe Garner Award at an awards dinner held as part of the World Triathlon Para Series Swansea event.

The award acknowledges her outstanding work in promoting inclusion and diversity in triathlon. 

Bianca fell in love with the sport after her first triathlon and since then has worked hard to make the sport even more inclusive for women and people of colour. A champion for diversity in the sport, she represented the GB Age-Group Team for the first time in 2022, is Chair of the Women of Colour Cycling Collective and is one of the co-founders and Chair of Fund Her Tri UK, a charity focused on bringing more gender parity to triathlon by removing some of the barriers women face to enter and stay in the sport.  

Fund Her Tri UK is a registered charity with the mission of bringing gender parity to triathlon with a series of initiatives that help reduce some of the barriers faced at entry level. Since its inception in late 2022, FHT UK has sponsored the first triathlon of more than 100 women and supported hundreds of beginners in our community with a mentorship programme, online and in-person educational events, donations of pre-owned equipment, access to events through successful partnerships with races and more. 

On receiving her award, Bianca said: "I fell in love with triathlon with my first in 2016; I didn’t know how to swim or bike, but I was intrigued about taking part in this sport, and what a great decision it was! It was so much fun and challenging at the same time, and I knew then I was a triathlete. However, I also noticed the lack of diversity. It was lonely being a beginner, even lonelier being a black woman.  

“For years I was very vocal and advocated for removing barriers to the sport and making it more diverse. Then Fund Her Tri UK was founded to increase gender diversity and provide that safe haven for beginners that I never had. I am truly humbled to receive the prestigious the inaugural Joe Garner award and receive it from Joe himself. It was a very emotional event and I am so grateful to British Triathlon for this recognition, which validates the importance of our mission and motivates me to continue breaking down barriers and levelling the playing field." 

Joe Garner, Patron of British Triathlon, Founder of the Triathlon Trust and the award’s namesake, said: “At its best, triathlon is an inspiring, challenging and rewarding sport.  However, it can also be intimidating, expensive and inaccessible. That’s why it is so important that we all work extra hard to make Triathlon as inclusive and accessible as possible – particularly to members of society who may be underrepresented. The spirit of this award is about recognising people who have made outstanding efforts to open triathlon to all – regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, or any factor other than their willingness to get up and give triathlon a go! The award had been postponed though COVID meaning that Bianca is a very worthy founding recipient, and hopefully sets the tone for future awards.” 

The Joe Garner Award was presented alongside 19 British Triathlon Gold Pins and the Dame Sarah Springman Award at a dinner held in Swansea as part of the World Triathlon Para Series event. A fill list of all the award winners can be found on the Gold Pin web pages, alongside previous Gold Pin winners.   

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