Monday, June 24, 2024

‘No black role models didn’t discourage me from playing hockey’

By Cassie Worth

Darcy Bourne, the England under-21 player who went viral last week following an image shared by thousands at a Black Lives Matters protest, says having no black role models in hockey has inspired her to go futher in the sport.

An image of Bourne, taken outside the US Embassy last weekend, was shared by the son of Martin Luther King, as well as the likes of British sport duo Lewis Hamilton and Dina Asher-Smith.

Bourne began playing club hockey for Surbiton under-11s in 2012 and the midfielder is set to attend Duke University, North Carolina.

“In tennis and athletics there are more ethnically diverse role models out there,” she told BBC London. “I looked up to the Williams Sisters and Asher-Smith in athletics.

“There aren’t any female role models who are black [in hockey]. As a young person you do look up to people who look similar to you. It didn’t discourage me from wanting to play hockey. I was always accepted and never had any discrimination or had any racist acts against me in the hockey community. If anything, having a lack of black role models has inspired me to go further.”

Bourne hopes to take up the mantle as a role model to offer the next generation, one that she didn’t have when starting out in hockey.

Asked if there was now pressure to succeed on the pitch and to speak out when necessary, Bourne said: “Now I have the platform of the image going viral. Beforehand, you don’t think about your colour. You are thinking about your team and the sport. This time has raised the issue and now there is a bit of added pressure.”

Last week, Sporting Equals, the UK’s leading charity for racial equality and diversity in sport, said that all funded sports organisations should have at least 20 per cent black and minority ethnic representation on its boards.

Last year, research undertaken by UK Sport and Sport England found that BAME people accounted for just 5.2 per cent of board members across 130 publicly funded organisations.

England Hockey has no BAME members on its board.

As part of its diversity action plan, England Hockey aims to “achieve a more diverse Board by attracting BAME candidates with the right skills and experience” in the medium term, as well as to have a diverse representation at all levels by 2024 in the long term.

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