A TERM that surfaced during the 1960s, the brain drain, encapsulated the fact that at that time Britain was losing a lot of its skilled scientific and engineering experts to other countries, leaving us with a void in knowledge to pass on to the next generation.

I have been thinking recently that there is also a brain drain in sport. After scrolling through social media at the weekend, I was delighted to see the number of young women who are playing sport at a high level – unfortunately, it is outside Scotland.

Let’s be clear that I don’t blame them, because at the moment, moving abroad to play professional sport as a woman is perhaps the only option they have as very few sports in Scotland can support or choose to support full-time female professionals with full-time salaries.

The problem here is that domestic sport also suffers, and in many cases it fails to flourish and develop. As a result, the interest required to attract sponsorship and spectators, and even recruit new blood into the sport, can be somewhat curtailed.

I don’t have the answer apart from saying investment is key as part of a long-term strategy.

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However, we need to find a solution to this problem now. To retain our strongest athletes in all sports, we need to offer them incentives, pay them as equals and build up their profiles on a daily basis, in our newspapers, websites and across all other media outlets.

Thankfully for Scottish Women in Sport, the brain drain hasn’t hit us in terms of recruiting new trustees, as just this week we announced the appointment of four board members, and every single one of them has more than the significant skills and passion required to grow SW/S.

They are sponsorship consultant Laura Hynd; sports journalist Heather Dewar; Dr Cara Shearer, national club manager at Scottish Athletics; and Mhairi Maclennan, whose organisation, Kyniska Advocacy, campaigns for progressive policies in women’s sport.

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These four new trustees, working alongside the current board, will elevate the standing of SW/S and enable it to grow and develop to support all our Scottish women in sport. While it is always sad to see some of our previous trustees leave, they can all be proud of the part they have played in taking SW/S to the level at which it currently operates.

As we look forward to our 10th anniversary next year, I am confident that with the strong board now in place, we can celebrate 10 years and move into the next phase of our own development with optimism and hope.