Photo credit: Kodak Kojak

At Leeds Roller Derby we’re celebrating Women’s Sport Week, which provides an opportunity for everybody involved with playing, delivering, working in, volunteering or watching sport to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.

We’ve asked a few of the women on the team to share their experience of roller derby and what it means to them. From experienced players to new recruits, roller derby has had a huge impact on all of our lives.

I have been playing roller derby now for nearly six years. Before I started, I basically spent my weekends in the pub.

I always wanted a hobby and tried different things like body building, art, and even sewing. My sister discovered roller derby first and recommended I give it a go. Before I started I wasn’t a confident person and hated my body and a lot of things about me. Being dyslexic I find some things hard to understand, especially social situations.

But over the years I’ve got fitter, lost weight, gained confidence and some of my most hated qualities have become my favourite things. Roller derby helped me love my body not for what it looks like but for what it can do. It’s given me the fitness to run half marathons and compete in triathlons.

I have also made amazing new friends thanks to roller derby and I have now been skating with some of them for years. It’s fantastic to be part of an amazing community which is incredibly accepting of gender, sexuality, disability and people from all walks of life.

I think sport is important to women as it gives you confidence, determination and drive. Since being involved in sport I have met some inspiring people and that then inspires me to do more.

My relationship with sport has made me closer to my friends and family. Me and my family now compete in triathlons and runs together and with roller derby I get the opportunity to travel the world with my closest friends.