By Marit Stromoy
Marit Stromoy is a Norwegian powerboat pilot who regularly competes against men in the F1H2O World Championship. She became the first woman to join the elite Grand Prix Winners Club with victory in Sharjah in 2015 and finished fifth in the overall standings that year. Marit will be racing at the F1H2O Grand Prix of London this weekend, which is returning to the capital for the first time in over 30 years.
To prove that women are strong
Competing against men and showing that we can be as successful as them shows the world that things are changing. Women are stronger and more powerful than ever, and it is very pleasing that there will be three women competing at the F1H2O Grand Prix of London.
To succeed as an underdog
The feeling of succeeding as an underdog is one of the most satisfying things that you can experience, both in sport and in general life. Competing against men in sport – at any level – provides women of all ages with the opportunity of proving that nothing should stop them from reaching their goals.
To be a role model and inspire young girls
Competing against men on an equal level will help to inspire young girls to chase their dreams and not let gender be a hinderance. It is great that under 16s go free at the London Grand Prix and I hope that it proves to girls in the UK that they are equal with their male counterparts.
The physicality argument is not valid for all sports
There are obvious reasons why men and women compete in different classes in some sports. However, powerboat racing is a sport where it’s proven that women can be as competitive as men. Powerboating is physically and mentally challenging and requires countless hours in the gym, but to compete at the highest level of this sport is such an honour.
To break down barriers
In my life there’s been plenty of people that have tried to tell me what I can and can’t do. When I won my first World Championship race in 2015 I had proven not only to myself, but also to the world that I could do it. If women are not given the chance to compete against men, then why should we assume that men would be better?
To allow the best individuals to compete
If a female is one of the world’s top 10 competitors in a sport, then why should she be unable to compete purely because of her gender? Many myths about women’s sport are finally being put to bed, but there are still numerous sports that could do more to increase opportunities for women.
If we can be equal in sports, we can be equal on so many levels. There are several industries that limit the opportunities presented to women simply because of their gender. It is important to show that when given the opportunity, women can do it!
To showcase women’s sport in a positive light
Women’s sport has improved a great deal in the 21st century and it has been brilliant to see viewing figures increase and sponsors become more engaged. Showing that women can compete – and win – against men and not simply ‘make up the numbers’ can only help to further enhance the reputation of female sport.
To provide more opportunities
I have been racing for nearly 30 years and have grown into the sport little by little. That’s the reason that I can race on the highest level of international powerboating and be competitive. Women must be provided with an opportunity and a pathway to the top if they are to succeed.
Because we can!
Competing for the right reasons have been important throughout in my career. I race purely because I want to win races. I don’t race because I’m running a feminist campaign, but simply because I know I´m good at it and my goal is to get better and better. For me, I have the coolest job in the world!