The team behind Belfast Asian Women’s Academy (BAWA) have been smashing another new skill – learning how to play camogie.
The BAWA is made up of women from across Asia who have made the made the city their home.
Over recent weeks the group have been travelling to Alexandra Park in North Belfast every Thursday night for taster sessions with coaches from the newly-formed Mary Ann McCracken camogie club.
Henry Joy McCracken’s hurling club was launched in February this year alongside the Mary Ann McCracken camogie club to serve the lower Antrim road area of North Belfast, which includes Newington, New Lodge and Carrick Hill.
Over recent months the club has been actively putting down roots in the community and now they have teamed up with the BAWA to help the ladies get to grips with camogie.
The group of women have quickly taken to the sport.
Armed with their helmets and sliotars, the group of ten women have quickly taken to the sport and the coaches say they have already spotted some potential future players for their team.
Chair and founder of BAWA Ana Chandran told Belfast Live the group are enjoying learning a new skill while also making new friends.
“We are always very keen to get out there and try something completely different while also building relationships with the local community,” Ana explained.
“A few years ago one of my Irish friends was watching camogie on TV and I asked her what is was. It looked like hockey but then I saw the players carrying the ball and sliotar by the hand and couldn’t understand it.
“It has taken me a bit of time to even pronounce the word camogie but at the time I thought it would be great to have a go one day.
“When the Henry Joy and Mary Ann Camogie Hurling Club said they wanted to reach out to the BAME community I decided this was something adventurous that we should try.”
Ana added: “Our ladies played their first ever camogie only a few weeks ago and they are thoroughly enjoying getting to know the game and embracing the local culture.
“We are so grateful to all the coaches of Henry Joy and Mary Ann Camogie Hurling Club for offering us these taster sessions.
“We have felt very welcome, safe and are having so much fun. We are encouraging all BAME ladies to try out this great Irish game.”
The group are enjoying learning a new skill while also making new friends.
Coach Brendan Harkin from Anraí Seoighe & Maire Aine CLG&CC said: “Our club was only formed in February of this year and there has been a big drive to push for new players, both young and old, in the local area.
“Another important goal for us is to promote the GAA ethos of inclusion in the community so when we were approached by Ana to see if we would take the ladies for some camogie training we were more than happy to help.
“A number of the girls have already joined the main camogie team so hopefully there will be many more coming forward.”
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