by Kristen Ku
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 9, 2023
In general, women in sports have not received as much media coverage or public attention as male athletes have received. In fact, statistics show that women receive as little as 4% of sports media coverage, and in many cases a significant portion of that coverage is redirected away from their athletic abilities and toward their physical appearance, family life, and love life.
One female athlete in Belize who has seemingly been receiving attention and recognition for her athletic prowess, however, is Mia Sylvester, our Woman of the Week.
Mia Sylvester is a nineteen-year-old Belizean athlete, born and raised in Belmopan.
Mia began her sports career when she was a little girl, participating in football and volleyball, but her main focus has always been in track and field, and she has specialized in two field events – shot put and discus throws. In fact, Mia has competed and represented Belize both nationally and internationally throughout the years.
Mia first participated in the 2016 Central American Athletics Championships (CAAC) with the U18 and then again in the U16 in El Salvador, where she won gold medals for both events.
But perhaps one of Mia’s greatest accomplishments was when she participated in the 2022 U-20’s CAAC and broke the Central American record, throwing the shotput at 13.75 meters, and her personal record of the discus at 40.85 meters, again winning gold for both.
Despite her athletic accomplishments, however, Mia continues to maintain her focus on educational pursuits. So it was a dream come true for her when she was awarded a full athletic scholarship to study at the University of Idaho. Mia is now pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science-Pre-Physical Therapy and Allied Health.
Research reveals that women who participate in sports not only contribute to diminishing gender stereotypes but also to building women’s self-esteem as well as leadership and strategic thinking skills — a reality that has evidently resonated with Mia.
And according to Mia, she owes all her success to having a positive mindset. She especially appreciates how women’s achievements are now being more fully recognized.
“I’m very proud that now the women are getting extra recognition, and I really hope they continue going and striving and aiming for their goals without making anyone stop them or making obstacles shut them down. So, I hope they continue and I’m really proud of every one of them,” she said.