Saluting Our Sisters this Black History Month: Sprinter Aleeya Sibbons and netballer Kadeen Corbin celebrate the women who inspire them

26 October 2023

October is Black History Month and to celebrate this year’s theme of Saluting Our Sisters, we spoke to University of Bath student-athlete Aleeya Sibbons and Team Bath Netball’s Kadeen Corbin about the women who have inspired them in their sporting journeys.

Aleeya Sibbons; UK Athletics international sprinter; Architecture student (Y3), supported by a Santander Scholarship:

“When I thought of Saluting Our Sisters, there were two women that popped into my mind straight away and they were Coral Nourrice and Maureen Egbe, my coaches at Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics Club in London. They have been coaching me since I started the sport around 12 years old and they have had a massive impact on me in a way that is hard to put into words.

“One thing I can absolutely say is they have made me the athlete I am today. They crafted me from someone who doesn’t run at all into someone who trains every day and aspires to compete at the very highest level. They are volunteers, all the coaching is done in their own time, but they have always been there with support whenever I need it. They have so much knowledge and I respect them a lot.

“There are so many people they have made an impact on, not just myself, and it’s not just athletics either. They have helped form our mindsets and how to approach hardships and struggles. We can translate what we learnt at the track into what is going on in our lives outside of athletics.

“What you say and do affects people, and any help that you can give to someone makes a big difference. It’s important to encourage each other and help each other out to be the best you can be, and that’s what I have learnt from Coral and Maureen.”

For an interview with Coral Nourrice and what Black History Month means to her, visit Black History Month – Coral Nourrice | British Athletics.

Aleeya Sibbons with coaches Coral Nourrice (left) and Maureen Egbe (right)

Kadeen Corbin; Team Bath Netball Super League player-coach; England and Barbados international; University of Bath graduate; Ambassador for Solo Sessions UK:

“The theme of Saluting Our Sisters is particularly appropriate for me as the number one inspiration in making me the athlete and person I am today is my sister, Sasha. She is why I started playing netball in the first place and encouraged my love for the sport.

“To get to play alongside her for so many years with England, Barbados, Team Bath and Mavericks has given me more inspiration than anything else. We’ve been through the ups and downs together – the successes, the crying, the happiness – and I am so grateful that I got to share those moments with Sasha.

Sasha and Kadeen Corbin proudly represented Barbados at the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa – Sasha’s last competition before retirement

“She was particularly important at the start of my netball career. I was initially rejected by England after trials but Sasha was told yes straight away and got to the very highest level really quickly. I was so proud to see her on court for the Roses and it made me even more determined to join her. She supported and encouraged me the whole way until I finally joined her in the squad in 2010.

“I got to watch her play for England as a spectator, then I got to play alongside her. To do that, and then continue doing it for multiple years, was the best feeling ever.

“We also had the honour of representing Barbados at the Netball World Cup this year. It was a fitting stage for Sasha’s last game before retirement and it was incredibly special to play for our Bajan surname. We lost our grandma earlier this year and it felt like fate that we had this opportunity to celebrate our heritage. I cried at the end because it was such an emotional ride. For me it sits with winning gold with England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it was such a proud moment.

“Away from netball, I’ve always looked up to Serena Williams. She is a beast on the tennis court and tenacious in everything she does. Of course, she also has a sporting sister in Venus and they were huge role models to me and Sasha – they played together, they played against each other but they always cheered each other on and they always sought to be the best they could be. I hope Sasha and I can be that kind of role model to young netballers.

“I know I’m in the fortunate position that what I do as a sportsperson inspires other people. If anyone wants to ask advice I am an open book and I am passionate about what I say. I love to see people’s growth in their sport and in themselves.”

For further information about Black History Month, visit Black History Month 2023 – Celebrating our Sisters.

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