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The 4rd episode of the monthly series of the AISTS Alumni Talks will take place on Thursday, 29 September at 7pm CEST.

Topic: Sport and the LGBTQIA community – Focus on transgender athletes and the importance of allies

Nikki (AISTS MAS2015) and Jack (Creator and presenter of the BBC) will openly discuss, with a panel of athletes, issues facing LGBTQIA athletes in all areas of the sports world and will focus on both sides of the transgender athletes’ debate, which is a topic high on many federation agenda’s rights now.

This webinar intends to speak about issues that are not always easy to discuss for many and how the sports world needs to have more of these discussions in order to be ready for the future of the sport as a whole. 



Nikki Symmons, AISTS MAS2015

Nikki Symmons is a former international field hockey player, teacher and Irish LGBTQIA role model. Nikki is passionate about I&D, with a life-long background in the area. Nikki is now transferring the skills and experience as an elite athlete and sports administrator to the corporate world. Most frequently utilizing her innate ability to work as a team. For Nikki, inclusivity is at the heart of every decision and is committed to driving awareness for all minority groups forward, in particular the LGBTQIA community. 

Jack Murley, BBC

Jack Murley is the creator and presenter of the BBC’s award-winning LGBT Sport Podcast. The show, which started in 2018, shines a spotlight on groups and individuals in the world of sport who just happen to have a link to the LGBTQ+ community. Previous guests have included Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists; World Cup-winning players and coaches; officials; supporters groups; grassroots clubs and more. Jack has been working in sports journalism for the past ten years, commentating on football, rugby, rowing, cricket and boxing right across the UK. Away from the microphone, he’s a keen swimmer and kayaker – and loves getting out on the water in his native Cornwall.

Meet the Specialists

Thomas Roos, Elite triathlete & Scientist, AISTS MAS 2018

Thomas Roos is an international elite triathlete for Team USA competing at world championships in various multisport formats. Thomas trained in genomics, biology, and clinical research at the Stanford School of Medicine and is actively involved in academic research focusing on sports performance, sports injuries, and athlete health/wellness. Thomas is an advisor for pro sports teams/athletes, sports federations, and sports science/technology companies. Overall, Thomas is passionate about applying the best quality science to sports in order to help athletes achieve their full potential.

Suzannah Townsend – GB Olympic Gold Medalist Rio 2016 

A fierce competitor, Townsend made her international debut back in 2008 and was part of the Great Britain team that won Olympic Gold at Rio 2016. She also helped England to a remarkable gold at the 2015 Europeans and have several other medals from major tournaments to her name too. Susannah struggled with injury after Rio but has since hit back on all cylinders and played a crucial role as GB qualified for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Susannah is looking to go to the Tokyo Olympics and win another Gold medal with Great Britain hockey.

Verity Smith, World Barbarians, LGBT+ sports advocate

Verity is Chief diversity officer for World Barbarians and an LGBT and Sports advocate. He played women’s rugby player for more than two decades before transitioning – and he now plays wheelchair rugby after suffering an injury that affected his spine and left leg. He’s passionate about LGBTQ inclusion in sport at all levels, and about sharing his experiences as a transgender player in the world of rugby.

Saloni Gupta, International Centre for Sport Security, AISTS MAS 2020

Saloni is a semi-professional Badminton player with an experience of over 14 years in the sport. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Sport Management at AISTS, during which she explored her research interest of sport participation policies by the International Olympic Committee and the International Federations for transgender athletes. She has contributed to sport development, education and gender equity among underprivileged children during her time as a Fellow with Teach For India, where she also co-founded a project on Ultimate Frisbee. She holds a B.A. (Honours) in Economics from St Stephen’s College in New Delhi.

*This episode is only opened to AISTS Community and the current students. The designated guests will receive the registration link separately.

Experience the world of sport in the Olympic Capital

Participants attend several full-day workshops throughout the programme to experience sport. These sessions are delivered by the sport organisations and federations themselves and provide a unique hands-on experience and well as an ideal opportunity to connect to our alumni and experts working in the industry.