The third cohort of coaches from across the globe have joined the Women in Sport High Performance Pathway (WISH), aimed at increasing the number of female coaches at the Olympic Games.

For Climbing, Beatrix Chong of Singapore, Stella Kerasidou of Greece, Meghan McDonald of the USA and Elnaz Rekabi of Iran were all selected to take part in the programme, created by the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Solidarity.

They join the third general cohort of the WISH programme and follow on from Slovenia’s Ajda Remškar who began in August 2022 as part of the second.

Further supported by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), applications were open to female coaches who expressed the potential and ambition to succeed in gaining roles at elite coaching levels within their sports.

The chosen participants applied to join the programme during the summer and were chosen on the strength of their applications, coaching history, and pedigree.

Their applications were approved and ratified in mid-November by the Singaporean, Greek and Iranian National Olympic Committees respectively, to allow them to begin the programme. McDonald’s support came earlier in the year as she was initially part of cohort two before choosing to postpone and join cohort three.

Applications for spots on the WISH programme saw 15 applications from 11 National Federations, and from four continents showcasing the diversity and reach of the sport.

All four participants attended the first online session on 30 November to kickstart the 21-month leadership programme alongside sportswomen from other Olympic sports.

The next step on the blended-learning programme will be a five-day residential session in Great Britain in February 2023. A mixture of online sessions, leadership sessions, and sport-specific mentor sessions will then take place before the programme is brought to a close in July 2024.

IFSC Secretary General Debra Gawrych said:

“The WISH programme is a fantastic opportunity for our female coaches to gain essential knowledge and experience and will help empower them with confidence and leadership going forward into their coaching futures.

“All five women displayed early on how well they would suit a programme like this, whether they wanted to expand their coaching knowledge for now or after their competitive climbing careers had finished. We speak with all our participants regularly and we will continue to support them throughout their journeys.”

IFSC Press Release

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