ABC - Karen Shrosbery
Prarthana Hazarika is courtside, headphones on and microphone poised, ready to go live at the national badminton championships.
This Indian broadcaster is making an indelible mark in sports journalism and commentary, doing something that, until recently, seemed impossible.
Prarthana took part in the Women in News and Sport (WINS) Program, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian aid program.
She is now commentating matches, the first woman in her country to call the sport.
“This program changed my personality and made me more confident to take on the microphone. In India women hardly get scope for improvement and so I am thankful to WINS for such a promoting step. People have started taking me seriously and I am loving it."
Her words are echoed by many female journalists across Asia and the Pacific.
More than a hundred women are now WINS alumni.
The program run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's International Development Unit aims to increase opportunities for women in sports journalism and through those opportunities increase stories about women in sport.
Suchitra is another journalist from India who has broken down barriers.
Following her participation in the WINS program, she achieved a career milestone — earning a hosting role in the FIFA World Cup coverage for the national public broadcaster in 2018.
Suchitra had been working with Doordarshan News for more than ten years but had never been given the opportunity to host World Cup coverage.
With renewed confidence following a WINS course, she asked for two female sports anchors on the sports desk to anchor the World Cup show.
“We have to take the initiative and show them we are just as good, if not better than the men — so I told my bosses I have to anchor the show".
Dinnierose Raiko from Papua New Guinea has broadened her journalism skills as a result of continuing mentorship opportunities through WINS.
She says she has benefitted greatly but so too has her organisation EMTV.
“These are the types of training that cost the company a lot of money, especially in these economic times in PNG".
All three women also featured in a film showcasing WINS last year.
WINS has also supported women working in sports communications and helped them raise the profile of their sports.
Melissa Fare who works for Vanuatu Cricket says she has broadened her skills as media manager in events and tournaments, as well as earning a promotion.
Christel Homu also from Vanuatu, cites WINS for her selection in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games Young Reporter initiative.
The talent of females in sports journalism will continue to be celebrated in 2019 with more WINS programs planned.
WINS is an ABCID initiative and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian aid program.