Alumna Khadijah named Young Sportswoman of the Year 2019

Alumna Khadijah Mellah ( Class of 2019) was named The Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year 2019 at an awards ceremony in London on 21 November 2019 in recognition of her groundbreaking Magnolia Cup victory at Goodwood in August. “I get goosebumps watching all these videos about these other amazing women. It feels unreal to be stood here.” she said after receiving her award at the News UK offices in London Bridge.

A product of the Ebony Racing Club,  Khadijah was the first woman to ride competitively on a British racecourse in a hijab and became front-page news after successfully guiding the Charlie Fellowes-trained Haverland to victory in the charity race, the Magnolia Cup. Khadijah’s journey was charted by ITV Racing’s Oli Bell and chronicled in the documentary Riding A Dream:

“A big part of my life has been proving people wrong. I am thrilled that I am part of a shift in social understanding of what women can achieve and what they can be good at. There’s quite a stereotype around Muslim girls and them ‘not being able to follow their sporting dreams’. I want to be a role model to anyone who wants to do something that they wouldn’t initially believe was in their comfort zone and allow people to follow their aspirations and dreams.”

Khadijah is now studying mechanical engineering at Brighton University. She hopes to return to racing and compete against her brother, also a jockey, in a charity race, maybe in 2021. She is playing polo for the university team, and wants to make her mark away from the racetrack one day:

I love physics and want to invent and create things that will make a difference,” she says. “I think about working on projects for sustainable energy or bionics and making an impact through engineering. I never thought I’d make an impact through riding. I initially didn’t really get why people saw what I did as such an achievement. But then if I was looking at it from the outside, I would have been following this story 100%.

We were delighted to welcome Khadijah and her family back to school in December to receive her A Level certificates.

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