Ajoa cover photo
Women in Cycling
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

How Ajoa Abrokwa will #LeadHerForward

By: Cecilia Patten  February 03, 2021

In honor of the 35th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, USA Cycling shares stories from Girls and Women in cycling who will #LeadHerForward.

Sports are much more than just a game or just a competition. Sports are an opportunity to learn more about yourself and develop skills that will benefit you in and out of competition. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is all about celebrating and encouraging the involvement of females in sports, so more women can emerge as leaders in sports and life.

We had the opportunity to ask cyclists in our community what sport has meant to them throughout their lives and how they will #LeadHerForward!

Here is what Ajoa Abrokwa had to say:

What has sport meant to you through your life?

During the course of my life participating in sports has been multipurpose, it’s been a way for me to connect with others, maintain good health and wellness and feel a great sense of achievement. Whether I was establishing and building relationships with team members, or being inspired and encouraged by coaches, sports have always served as a connector for me. They have also afforded me the opportunity to learn new things about myself and push limits that I did not realize existed; physically, mentally, socially or emotionally. Participating in sports has also forced me to establish new levels of commitment, to myself and others. My experiences have been simply amazing. I have won many awards and metals over the years however, my greatest reward yet, has been setting goals, creating training plans, and having the intrinsic motivation to work towards achieving my goals.

How did you get involved in your sport or sports in general?

Growing up I have always been considered athletic, some would say I have natural ability. Participating in sports afforded me the opportunity to hone those talents early on, and continue to build on them through adulthood. Oddly, I believe I became involved in sports following in my older brother’s footsteps, he always had an unintended influence on me and I saw him as a stellar athlete and wanted to be the same. I have played a number of sports such as field hockey and basketball. I have also participated in track and field and cross country, which in some ways lead me to my current love for cycling. As an adolescent, I “rode my bike” as a form of transportation around my neighborhood and as a way to explore other neighborhoods. As an adult, I started spinning a few years back and grew to love it. However, I have always been a lover of outdoor, physical activity. I enjoy running outdoors and decided to purchase a road bike and start participating in outdoor cycling.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice that I would give my younger self, is the same advice I give to my daughter, and women and girls I come into contact with. They are to be fearless in exploring what is “outside of the box.” Society has created a metaphorical box that they believe we dwell in. We are multidimensional, we are passionate, we are brilliant, we are athletic and we are competitive. Explore sports, take a class, go for a jog, do yoga, bounce a ball or you can be like me and get on a bike and become a cyclist. Challenge yourself to pursue an athletic activity that brings you joy, if you grow to like it, challenge yourself to see where it leads you. It’s about being open to new experiences, and opportunities; living beyond the limits that others have set for you. Take a chance and Go for It!

How will you lead her forward? What are you doing or wanting to do to inspire girls and women in sport?

I will continue to Lead Her Forward by modeling the behavior I am encouraging and advocating for. Every time I get up, put on my hijab and participate in a sporting activity, I am leading the way for another woman or young girl Muslim, or Non-Muslim, to feel empowered to do the same. I am a collectivist and I believe in the power of joint effort and shared responsibility. I have been encouraged and empowered to participate fearlessly, and I want to continue to lead the way for others to follow suite in whichever way that is most comfortable and enjoyable to them. My final message to all the women and young girls is Queens Rule Together: we encourage, uplift and empower one another!

Want to share how you will #LeadHerForward? Send your story to cpatten@usacycling.org!