IOC President Thomas Bach with winners of the Women in Sport Awards ©IOC/Flickr

Ethiopian sports journalist Dagim Zinabu Tekle has been named the first male recipient of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Women and Sport World Trophy at a gala ceremony here this evening.

Tekle founded a radio programme dedicated to "inspiring women and girls to be more active in sport and to pursue their goals and dreams". 

In the last five years it has featured 12,580 guests , including sports leaders, coaches, professionals and sportswomen engaged in local and international women’s sports activities. 

This is seen as having "significantly raised awareness among the public of the achievements and success of these women".

Tekle was presented with his award by IOC President Thomas Bach and Burundi's Lydia Nsekera, chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission.

It followed a glitzy ceremony attended by many leading lights of the sports world and wider Olympic Movement here for a week of Commission and International Federation meetings.

Five continental winners were also honoured at an event presided over by IOC Athletes' Commission member Kirsty Coventry.

Dagim Zinabu Tekle, right, became the first male recipient of the main award ©IOC
Dagim Zinabu Tekle, right, became the first male recipient of the main award ©IOC

These included Rwanda's Felicite Rwemarika, founder of the Organisation of Kigali Women in Sports, who has also fought for the creation of a national council for women in sport, and was given the award for Africa. 

The  United States' Carole Oglesby, President of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, President of the National Association of Girls and Women’s Sport, won the prize for the Americas.

Also honoured was Philippines' Maria Leonor Estampador, the country's first female national fencing coach, and Denmark's longstanding football coach Majken Maria Gilmartin.

They were the winners of the Asia and Europe categories respectively. 

Continental winners were completed by Oceania where Australia's Moya Dodd, the Asian Football Confederation vice-president, who has "championed women’s rights within the game and raised global awareness about the need to bring more gender diversity into all areas of sports governance".

Introduced in 2000, the IOC Women and Sport Trophies seek to recognise the "outstanding achievement and contributions made to develop, encourage and strengthen the participation of women and girls in sport at all levels". 

Majken Maria Gilmartin won the IOC Women in Sport Award for Europe ©IOC
Majken Maria Gilmartin won the IOC Women in Sport Award for Europe ©IOC

"These Women and Sport Awards are very important because without these personalities whom we are honouring, the athletes could not achieve their goals," said Bach, who also hailed the great performances from female athletes at August's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"These personalities have assisted and inspired athletes. 

"They have been fighting for the right of the female athletes, they have encouraged them. 

"We are extremely grateful to them."