NEW YORK, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) held an awarding ceremony to honor six models and change-makers in advancing women and girls in and through sport on Wednesday evening on the sideline of the Commission on The Status of Women (CSW) at the UN headquarters.
International baseball umpire from Chinese Taipei Po Chun Liu was awarded the World Trophy for her staunch advocacy for female empowerment through sport.
Throughout her sporting journey, she has refused to let gender discrimination stand in the way. Her determination saw her go from being a volunteer in little league to becoming the first female baseball umpire in her native Chinese Taipei. With a boost from the New York Yankees, the figure known as "the Mother of Women's Baseball" in Chinese Taipei has gone on to umpire internationally in World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) tournaments and made Forbes' 2018 list of the "Most Powerful Women in International Sports."
Five Continental Trophies were awarded. Djatougbe Noameshie from Togo is the winner for Africa. From national athlete to the first fully qualified female international volleyball referee on her continent, and now Vice-President of the Togo National Olympic Committee (NOC), Noameshie has climbed the sporting leadership ladder and works actively to improve girls' and women's participation in sport nationally, at all levels - from grassroots to sporting administration.
Winner for the Americas is Comision Mujer y deporte de Costa Rica.
In 10 years, the Costa Rican NOC's Women and Sport Commission has used workshops, group projects, education and sporting activities to encourage the integration of women in sport and increase participation numbers, and has lobbied for the creation of legal frameworks that recognize gender-based social issues and offer aid for women.
Winner for Asia is Saada Al-Ismaili from Oman. As a leading activist for women's sport in the Gulf region and the Arab world, Al-Ismaili has successfully designed and efficiently implemented plans and programs aimed at promoting girls' and women's sport throughout the region.
Winner for Europe is Morana Palikovic Gruden from Croatia. As an experienced multitasking sports official and a leading figure of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Gender Equality in Sport Commission, Gruden has been pivotal in increasing the number of women holding managerial positions at European, national and local sports association level.
Winner for Oceania is Vanuatu Volleyball Federation. Recognized locally as having paved the way for female participation in sport at grassroots and elite level, the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation is using the power of sport to prompt social change, shift attitudes and encourage active living for women.