The humble sports bra. It seems innocuous when you come from a background where this necessity is readily available in local stores.
However, for some players in the Solomon Islands top-flight Women’s Premier League, tracking down quality sports bra hasn’t been that simple.
Which is why the recent donation of sporting equipment from the Australian Government is so significant.
Among the more typical donation of balls, shin pads, socks and boots supplied to the ten teams competing in the Solrais Women’s Premier League during a presentation at Lawson Tama last week, were sports bras.
Diana Taison, women’s league board member, said while a unique addition to the donation list, it’s an important item for any women playing and competing in sport.
“Sports bras give any sports women support, they help with posture and performance especially in a sport like football where there is always movement or running,” she explained.
“Wearing the right outfit to maximise performance, and the right outfit includes sports bras.”
Tamara Priddle, an Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sports diplomacy officer, said the donated goods were selected following consultation with the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).
“They [SIFF] identified a need for sports bras to help women compete to the best of their abilities,” she said.
“Sports bras are something that are not easily accessible in Solomon Islands.”
Overall the Australian Government donation, presented by Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Lachlan Strahan, totalled SBD$210,000 and will have a significant impact on the burgeoning women’s competition.
“The women’s football league is only into its second year. Although the game has been around for some time it was bushed to the back with not much attention,” Taison said.
“Since trying to up the level and standard of women’s football to be more competitive both locally and internationally, it was felt that it would be a near impossible task unless we got some serious assistance.
“The donation, made through mutual arrangement between the SIFF President, the Solomon Islands Government, and the Australian Government, has come as a huge blessing for women’s football.”
Taison said the Junior Matilda’s visit to Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific Step Up tour in 2019, has been somewhat of a catalyst for the nation.
“Long story short, the donations in kind will definitely boost every club, all 10 clubs! There are 25 registered players per club, and all 10 clubs receive 25 pairs of boots, so already that means no more sharing of boots at games. All players owning a pair and calling it their own is more than we could ask for,” she said.
“Training equipment we hope will motivate clubs, coaches, and players to be creative in the modern style of training and to boost their club performance.
“We are so grateful to the Australian Government, through the Australian High Commission, for their donation and support. Tagio tumas!”
Priddle said the development of the women’s league in Solomon Islands was exciting to witness.
“Through regular interaction with the Solomon Islands Football Federation we have identified the need to support the women’s league, who do not have the proper equipment to train and compete,” she said.
“It [the league] is providing an opportunity for young women to compete and develop their skills. We are proud to support their development and participation in the league.”
Priddle said ultimately, the goal is for the donation to enable more young women to compete in the women’s league, and in football in general.
“A large number of women have not had access to appropriate footwear, which is a bare necessity to play. We see the donation as enabling the participation and development of a large number of young women.”