My father founded the badminton club named Wit-Wit in Ronse in 1988. Just like him, my brothers were big fans of the sport, so as little sister I couldn’t miss out. I was practically born with a racket in my hand and when I was 14 years old, I made the choice to go to the school for top athletes in Antwerp.


In February, Ethan Akanni became British Universities 60m hurdles champion and then won bronze at nationals. He explains why he’s also proud to be in the new Athletics Pride Network. “Coming out as gay in athletics has boosted my confidence.


As an athlete, you don’t want the attention of it. Athletes feel like they are being defined for being gay, like they’re ‘the gay one’ on the team. At the end of the day it shouldn’t matter, but first of all, there has to be someone on the team who makes it normal. I don’t want to have attention for it, but I feel someone has to start the conversation. I know there’s still homophobia in sports and around hockey clubs. So if you manage to reach some people and get them to understand that it’s not OK to judge people, and no one should feel entitled to judge someone, then you’ve done something right.


During games, I often have to endure a lot. “Transbitch, cunt …”, I’ve already heard all kinds of insults. One time I was on my way to score a goal, when suddenly the opponent tackled me really hard, without even having the ball. To the referee, I heard them say: “But that’s a man on the field we have to play against!”.

Ashley Lynn

I want to inspire people in more ways than just fitness. To do that, I couldn’t be afraid to be myself, because I know there will always be negative and rude people regardless. I want to show others to also not be afraid to be themselves. True happiness comes from being able to express who you are. To accept yourself and love yourself.