WKA: Competition evens the playing field

HARRISBURG, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2000) -- Competition is the greatest element of any sport. But it's not the same as it used to be. World records are being broken and athleticism is on the rise. Competition is ever changing, and one significant factor...

HARRISBURG, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2000) -- Competition is the greatest element of any sport. But it's not the same as it used to be. World records are being broken and athleticism is on the rise. Competition is ever changing, and one significant factor is the emerging dominance of women in otherwise male-dominated sports. Many women are stepping onto the playing field and making a name for themselves on soccer fields, basketball courts and even race tracks.

Indy Racing League (IRL) driver Sarah Fisher, 20, has achieved impressive accomplishments as the youngest driver to pass the IRL rookie test and the youngest person to compete in the league. Expanding on her love for the sport, Fisher's path to success was jump-started at the age of eight when she joined the World Karting Association (WKA). "Karting was the basis for all my racing," said Fisher, who participated in WKA until she was 14. "It taught me the basic elements of a race car. It was an inexpensive way to get out there and learn about racing first-hand." Her involvement in WKA led Fisher to gain many accolades including WKA Grand National Champion in 1991, `93 and `94, and Circleville Points Champion in 1993. WKA offers an organized outlet for aspiring drivers to race in different classes -- regardless of gender.

"Karting allows a young person to display their driving abilities," said Randy Kugler, president of WKA. "When someone is in one of those karts with a helmet on, no one knows whether it is a female or male. They see the skills and ability of the person on the track. It makes for an even playing field." Fisher recalls only two other females who competed in karting in her six-year involvement. Over the years, though, the number of female competitors has increased and isn't slowing down. "There has always been a fair amount of female drivers, but recently there has been more," Kugler said. "I predict you are going to see more females moving through the ranks of racing and more Sarah Fishers coming through. I like to think WKA can help start their careers in racing." Young women aren't timid about maintaining Fisher's successful karting legacy either.

Twenty-year-old Amanda Holewski has been racing in WKA since 1992 and captured a national championship in 1999. "I feel like I am still learning about the mechanics of the car, and I sometimes have to prove myself as a girl," Holewski said. "But, last year I was the girl to beat." Like Fisher, Holewski recollects being one of the only females in karting when she started. With more women getting involved in sports, she thinks people are realizing girls can win, too. "There is more acceptance now in sports overall," Holewski said. "I am really happy to be involved in a sport where my skills and abilities matter most." Athletic contests have intensified and changed, but these women, and the many more involved in sports, aren't letting anything get in their way of a victory -- not even the competition. The World Karting Association is a member-owned corporation founded in 1971 to regulate and promote the family sport of competitive kart racing and provide a safe and fair environment for the fulfillment of racing dreams.

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Series Kart
Drivers Sarah Fisher