“Superwoman” Prina Karia was honoured to receive the Community Coach of the Year award at the prestigious UK Coaching Awards last week.
The showpiece event was held virtually on Thursday, 3 December and recognised the contribution coaches made in transforming lives in communities across the country.
Level 2 badminton coach Prina is part of Panthers Badminton Club in Leicester, and holds roles as a Chairwoman, Secretary, Match Secretary and Child Welfare Officer, alongside involvement as a trustee with the Leicestershire County Badminton Association.
Having worked closely with Badminton England for many years, she has worked her way through her coaching levels, enabling her club to continue to grow.
Within her community, Prina has worked on issues close to her heart – the stigma around women playing sport, as well as ethnicity and diversity within sport. She has worked extremely hard to change the views of many in her community.
Prina’s first-hand experience of these issues has driven her work forward, and she has set up ladies-only sessions to help other women realise their aspirations in participating in sport and physical activity. She is a role model example of a community leader to those around her.
Due to her involvement in these areas, Prina was also recently featured in Badminton England's Diversity and Inclusion statement video.
Prina said: “It was an unexpected honour to be nominated for this prestigious award but becoming a finalist and going on to win can only be described as completely surreal.
"Badminton and sport has always been close to my heart because it gave me the undefined strength to break the barriers and crush the stigma of BAME women in sport.
"This award is a tribute to Maurice Roberts at Panthers Fitness & Well-Being and Helena Russo at Badminton England, who have always pushed my boundaries and support all the aspirations I have for my local community."
Prina’s efforts have meant that Panthers have gone from strength to strength - in 2016, the club had one team in the Leicestershire men's division, but now have multiple teams in the men's, ladies, and mixed Leagues. Prina has managed to get more age groups involved with badminton through the development of the junior club, ensuring the success of the next generation of badminton players in Leicester.
As a result, the club is welcoming and all-inclusive, not least due to the continued learning Prina has undertaken, such as Badminton England’s Disability Workshop. Alongside her coaching qualifications, Prina has also undertaken training to become a Club Welfare Officer to support the local clubs around her, and truly is involved in almost all areas of the game! As someone from her club described her – “she is literally the club’s superwoman.”
Badminton England Chief Executive, Adrian Christy, said: "Many congratulations to Prina! On behalf of everyone at Badminton England, well done, it is richly deserved!
“We are delighted to have had one of our coaches recognised nationally by UK Coaching and look forward to watching Prina's work continue.”