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Female Athletes Take Center Stage at Inaugural ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference

9 marzo, 2016 | Redacción
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2016 ANA Inspiration launches with LPGA Stars  Paralympian Jessica Long 600The world’s best golfers will not be the only champion female athletes at this year’s ANA Inspiration, as tournament officials last night announced the first-ever ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference, slated for Tuesday, March 29 at Mission Hills Country Club.

Female sporting icons Missy Franklin, Annika Sorenstam, Lindsey Vonn, Abby Wambach and Kristi Yamaguchi will headline the inaugural conference, which will include a series of panels and discussions about the state of women’s sports, female athletes as role models, using sports as a platform to inspire women of all ages, and what it takes to be a champion. Swimmer Jessica Long will also share her inspiring story of overcoming a double leg amputation at 18 months old to become the one of the most decorated Paralympians in history.

The announcement of groundbreaking new ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference was made at a special launch event held in Beverley Hills attended by defending ANA Inspiration champion Brittany Lincicome alongside LPGA stars Cristie Kerr and Alison Lee, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Julie Foudy and world-class swimmer and 12-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long.

Speaking at the launch Gabe Codding, ANA Inspiration tournament director, said: “The ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference is an incredible platform to showcase the stories of the world’s best female athletes and learn from their successes in the Olympics and in life”. “We are so grateful to our partner ANA for sharing in the vision to help tell these inspirational stories amidst the backdrop of the LPGA’s most iconic venue. It will be an absolute thrill to welcome these sports legends to Mission Hills Country Club and watch them interact with the LPGA’s best.”

Arianna Huffington, the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and author of 15 books, will deliver the keynote address on the habits of successful women. Foudy will serve as host and moderator.

Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, will accept the inaugural ANA Inspiration Award, which is given to a female athlete, entrepreneur or philanthropist who, through her effort and determination on or off the playing field, has inspired other women to break barriers and achieve success.

“We are proud to bring together some of the top names in women’s sports for the inaugural ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference,” said Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President of the Americas, All Nippon Airways. “One of our goals when announcing our partnership as the Official Airline of the LPGA and title sponsor of the historic ANA Inspiration was to find ways to help inspire future generations of female athletes through elements like this new conference and the expansion of the ANA Junior Inspiration. It is these opportunities that can help inspire future female sports stars in Southern California, across the United States and around the world.”

Produced by IMG, the conference will take place in the all-new ANA Hospitality Pavilion adjacent to the 18th green of the Dinah Shore Tournament Course and Poppie’s Pond. In 1988, three-time ANA Inspiration winner Amy Alcott made the first-ever champion’s leap in Poppie’s Pond, thus inspiring the LPGA’s most recognizable tradition that carries on to today.

LPGA player panelists and additional contributors for the conference will be announced in the coming weeks.

At the conclusion of the ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference, the first-ever ANA FootGolf Challenge will take place on the adjacent Palmer Course at Mission Hills Country Club. American soccer legends Wambach and Foudy will team up with two American LPGA players in a six-hole competition against Japanese National Team legends Ayumi Kaihori and Yayao Kobayashi and two of their Japanese compatriots from the LPGA.

FootGolf, the hybrid sport where soccer meets golf, is played with a regulation soccer ball on shortened golf holes with 21-inch diameter cups cut into the greens. The rules largely correspond with the Rules of Golf. The American FootGolf League (AFGL), which is based in Palm Springs, will oversee the setup of the ANA FootGolf Challenge course and competition.

The conference will take place in advance of the season’s first major where defending champion Brittany Lincicome will seek to become the fourth player in LPGA history to win the ANA Inspiration three times. She will be joined by Rolex No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Inbee Park, No. 3 and 2014 champion Lexi Thompson, No. 4 and 2011 champion Stacy Lewis and No. 5 Ha Na Jang, a two-time winner on Tour in 2016. The full field for the 2016 ANA Inspiration will be announced on Tuesday, March 22.

Speaking on the new initiatives for 2016 ANA Inspiration defending champion Brittany Lincicome said: “The ANA Inspiration is very special to me. Last year everything felt like it had been upgraded as ANA added lots of touches and went above and beyond for the players. But with the new additions to the tournament line-up this year looks even better. I’m really looking forward to the ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference. When you meet another athlete at the top of their game it gives you cold chills. I’m not sure I’ll know what to say but I can’t wait to meet such inspiring women especially when I’m returning as the defending champion. I know it’s going to be real highlight.

“The ANA Junior Inspiration is incredible. For ANA to invite leading young players from across the country to Mission Hills and be given the chance to tee it up in the first major of the year is amazing. I can’t even imagine the nerves they’ll be feeling but it really is an opportunity of a lifetime! I’ve no doubt it will inspire more young girls into the game.”

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