EWS member Sarah Townsend participates in a panel "Being an LGBTI+ professional athlete in France, the Netherlands and Europe"

On behalf of ENGSO, EWS member Sarah Townsend accepted the kind invitation from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to France, H.E Jan Versteeg, in partnership with the NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee and Sports Federation) to the panel discussion entitled “Being an LGBTI+ professional athlete in France, the Netherlands and Europe”, which was hosted at the Ambassador’s Residence in Paris, France, on Monday 3rd June 2024.

The event was facilitated by Louise Ekland, Franco-British journalist for France Télévision, and guests and participants were welcomed by the Ambassador who highlighted the importance of the societal impact of sport. Anneke Van Zanen-Nieberg, President of the Dutch Olympic & Paralympic Committee * Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF) presented the context for this Pride Month event and emphasised the importance of sport connecting with the LGBTQI+ movement and reaching out to all of those that take part in sport.



The work of the NOC*NSF was followed up with a presentation from Sam de Vor, programme manager for Inclusive Sports at NOC*NSF, on their work on inclusion in sport and the Dutch Guidance on gender and sex diverse individuals.



The core program of the morning concentrated on personal testimonials of life as an LGBTQI+ athlete in elite sport from former French Olympic epee fencer Sara Daninthe, and former Dutch paralympic swimmer, Querijn Hensen with a follow-up a panel discussion with these two athletes alongside Olympic weightlifting athlete and coach Beau de Leeuw. 



The French Ambassador for Sport, Samuel Ducroquet, presented the goals and hopes for inclusion at the Paris Olympics this summer continuing the tradition of Pride House with a 24th edition, delivered this time by Fier Play and supported by Pride House International and for the first time, the International Olympic Committee.

Being An Lgbti+ Professional Athlete In France, The Netherlands And Europe

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