When you think of contact sports, the ones that usually come to mind are rugby, wrestling, boxing and martial arts with the majority of these athletes being men, but not with Roller Derby. Roller Derby is a contact sport where women rule the rink and you can either “hit or be hit”.

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To get more insight into this fearless sport, Leighthal Weapon or as her parents know her – Leigh Loffell-Dawson, marketing committee member of Cape Town Rollergirls, shed some light.

“Interest was shown in our sport by a number of women back in 2010 but at the time nothing was formalised until a society was started in 2011. The league functioned as Mother City Mayhem until 2012 at which time, considering the recent growth in interest that we’d experienced, we decided to rebrand and rename the league – Cape Town Rollergirls,” says Leighthal Weapon.

Derby is the fastest growing women’s sport with new leagues starting up every year and with the announcement of 29 new member leagues in December 2014, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in South Africa has now reached 302 leagues. Worldwide, there are currently over 1,500 amateur leagues. Leighthal Weapons says, “We can thank Drew Barrymore’s 2009 movie, “Whip It”, for exposing this extreme underground sport to the world.”

Also, with many people looking for a new way to stay fit and not work the same circuit day in and day out, Leighthal Weapon shares some of the benefits. “Training sessions are intense – we’re building warriors after all! The benefits range from an increase in fitness, endurance and strength to mental health improvements, sharper coordination, weight loss, muscle gain and an increase in self-confidence.”

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But don’t worry guys, the girls aren’t the only ones who get to rule the rink. “We’re proud to be friends with the Cape Town Men’s Derby league that formed last year. They share real estate with us and we involve them in many events, but competitively we’re more focused on women’s full contact,” says Leighthal Weapon.

“Roller derby is tons of fun; it’s great for body and mind and instills teamwork and camaraderie. It’s an inclusive sport that doesn’t judge your height, age, weight, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” says Leighthal Weapon.

So get your skates, knee guards, elbow guards and head gear ready because the doors to the roller rink are wide open to anyone willing to put the work in. For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/capetownrollergirls/?fref=ts