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.

Photo credit: Mad Maz

I have always loved sports, I can honestly say every sport has always come naturally to me – until I was introduced to roller derby.

At first I thought ‘oh, it’s just a bunch of women skating round in circles, I could do that.’ But boy was I in for a shock. Not just to the mind but the body too.

My love for roller derby began three years ago when a friend introduced me to the sport. I attended a recruitment session with what was then Hot Wheel (Hot Wheel and Leeds Roller Dolls merged at the end of last year to create the super team Leeds Roller Derby). I was hooked from the word go. The adrenaline and excitement was unlike any other sports I’d been involved in. Not even boxing came close.

It’s been a long three years learning and adapting. I can honestly say that I could not have got as far as I have had it not been for all the fiercely amazing and supportive women of my team. Not forgetting our coach, Jerry. Yes he’s a man, but not everyone can be perfect (sorry Jezza!).

Roller derby to me is about unity, it’s about strength in numbers and as an individual. Being a muslim woman and introducing the sport to my family posed its own challenges. However, I have been very fortunate that my mother, my rock, my partner in crime, has always supported me in my decisions and encouraged me to follow my heart fearlessly. I am truly blessed to have a loving family.

In spite of all the challenges, I still pursued the sport. Like they say, nothing good comes easily.

I guess when you believe in yourself and you’re a strong soul who pushes her limits to achieve her goals, everything else falls into place. It’s like destiny calling. Obviously, I’m not saying for a moment that overnight I’ll become the doyenne of roller derby like Bonnie Thunders or Scald Eagle or anything like that. But I still have the desire, determination and passion to be a part of an amazing sport.

And what makes roller derby spectacular is that it has an array of diverse, strong, talented, supportive and courageous women making it what it is. It makes me feel proud to be a woman and equally proud to be a part of Leeds Roller Derby.