Meet the Interns: Sheila Gakii, Badminton, Kenya

Meet the Interns

Name: Sheila Gakii

“Mentoring … provides an avenue that allows me to interact and socialize with professionals and will facilitate success for me and for the development of badminton.”

Sport: Badminton

Mentor Coach: John Odhiambo

Country: Kenya

Current Occupation: Community coach

Games Responsibilities: Working as an assistant coach, Sheila will help in implementing training programmes with the national coach, John Odhiambo. She will help to coach when two athletes are playing on different courts and will handle the players when the mentor is involved elsewhere.

Athletic Background: Sheila was a badminton player for more than 10 years, competing in both individual and team events in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Her involvement began at the age of 14, her first year of high school. She was inspired by the fact that even though the school court was outdoors, her school still managed to win medals and trophies at the Kenya National School Games Championships.

Coaching: Sheila believes that Kenya has much untapped talent and she chose a coaching career because she realised younger students could be helped to discover and develop their gifts. Kenya lacks a woman badminton coach and she believed that if she “fills those shoes”, she could foster talent development at the grassroots and primary school levels, especially where young girls are concerned. She was encouraged, guided, and mentored by the national coach. Former Badminton Kenya chair Anna Maina also recognized Sheila’s potential as a coach, and she was further supported by Badminton Kenya and its secretary-general Jeff Shigoli. One challenge she faces is “segregation from other coaches and players, especially at the senior level.” It would be helpful for her to attend more workshops and tournaments to see other coaches at work.

Education:

Level One Coaching

Importance of the WCIP: “ … it means access to a woman’s coaching programme focused on training and producing women coaches to help development in various sports. I expect guidance through lessons and courses and look forward to interacting with and learning from some of the best coaches who will be part of the WCIP. Mentoring is important to my career in terms of acquiring skills and knowledge. It provides an avenue that allows me to interact and socialize with professionals and will facilitate success for me and for the development of badminton. Developing networks is also important because that helps brainstorming and exchanging ideas and acquiring financial aid.”

After Gold Coast: Sheila plans to share the knowledge and skills she acquires through the WCIP with other coaches, especially in schools. She would like to identify and develop several talented badminton players. She also plans to help another woman coach because there is a scarcity in that area and her WCIP experience will be “a great tool”. Badminton Kenya will support Sheila in developing the sport at the grassroots level with the help of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, which will lobby the government for resources.

Commonwealth Connections: “The unique thing about the Commonwealth Sport Movement is the fact that sport is seen as a powerful force for good. It reflects the values and aspirations that unite the different countries working towards the goal of democracy through sport. Being a coach at the 2018 Commonwealth Games means I am part of that force for good.”