TWO successful Harrovians have been shortlisted in a series of awards recognising Asian womens’ contribution to British business, public, cultural and political life.
Vying in different categories in the 2013 Asian Women of Achievement Awards are Rimla Akhtar and Sue Kukadia, who will find out if they have won at the ceremony on May 15.
Ms Akhtar, 30, of Yeading Avenue, South Harrow, is nominated for the Asian Woman of Achievement in Sport Award for her achievements as the chairwoman of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, based in Station Road, North Harrow.
The 30-year-old said: “I feel really honoured. It’s nice to be recognised for what you’re doing. There’s a bigger team behind me so this is for everyone.”
Ms Akhtar became involved in the voluntary body as a player in the British Muslim women’s futsal team that competed in the Women’s Islamic Games in Iran in 2001 and 2005, becoming chairman the following year.
The chartered accountant, who plays for The Cobras futsal team based at Preston Manor High School in Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, said: “We work across all sports.
“We help set up teams and leagues, and do strategic consultancy with the Football Association and other governing bodies like the Lawn Tennis Association, and local clubs, to help BME (black and minority ethnic) women in sports by breaking down physical as well as personal barriers. We do research as well.”
Sue Kukadia, director of global immigration at accountancy firm Ernst and Young, is one of five contenders in the running for Asian Woman of Achievement in Business.
Mrs Kukadia started at Ernst and Young in September 2010 and was made director of global immigration the following year.
She was born with spina bifida and during her childhood had more than 100 operations to enable her to walk.
She said it is down to her parents that she persevered over the years.
“I am very, very lucky to have parents who quickly recognised that to survive as a British Asian you have to make the best of what you can,” she said. “They pushed me to study, they pushed me all the way.”
The 40-year-old, of Carlyon Avenue, Harrow, said it hadn’t sunk in she had been nominated.
“I won the most inspirational role model for Ernst and Young and that was a really big deal for me as I was nominated by my team,” she said. “This time I didn’t know I was being nominated and it was a big shock. It is nice to be recognised.”
Her husband, Jason Koolmon, is her carer.
She said: “I have had three hip replacements and now it is fixed on the right side so I walk with a limp and I can’t bend down. I have taken the ‘can do’ attitude to the next level. I can now do things that I couldn’t do before – not much holds me back.”