Kate teaches Afghans that women can run!
PUBLISHED: 09:03 05 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:04 05 March 2015
©MOD Crown Copyright 2015
A female thysical training instructor from Exmouth, who overcame sexism to set up a women’s fitness regime at Afghanistan’s ‘Sandhurst’, is to be honoured.
Staff Sergeant Kate Lord, 32, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, will be awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.
Kate, currently on her third tour of duty, is the only female instructor in the newly established Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
She single-handily set up the female physical training regime, successfully merging it with the men’s – no mean feat in Afghanistan.
Initially, she mentored young male Afghan instructors, many so misogynistic they believed women were incapable of running.
Kate admitted to being nervous before her first session: “They were all eyeing me up with curiosity and asking me how fast I could run.”
At first, they tried to keep up with her, and then they started to listen; word soon spread among the Afghan instructors that she was a force to be reckoned with.
Kate not only blew away their assumptions, she won their admiration:
“It took about a month,” she said. “Then they began to really take me seriously. The initial barrier was because they had never worked with a woman before.
“But we had a lot of laughs and they liked that I could take a joke and would play jokes back on them.”
After three months, she began running a course for female instructors and one of the women, Fatima, was runner-up to the top student. “I gave her my watch when I left as every good PTI needs one and I still send her parcels with little items of kit to keep her going,” she said.
The citation reads: “Nobody in this mission has done more to further the standing of women in the Afghan National Army.”
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