BRADFORD-BASED coach Nalette Tucker pretty much defines the word ‘selfless’, as she inspires women across the city to follow their sporting dreams.

The 34-year-old was named ‘Coach of the Year’ at the Bradford Sports Awards last Friday night, the least she deserved after dedicating hours of teaching and guidance to others.

Tennis specialist Tucker, who moved to Bradford as a youngster to live with her grandparents, converted to Islam several years ago, and her faith plays an important part in what she does around the district.

Speaking to the T&A on Friday night, Tucker said: “I do deliver a lot of coaching sessions and for me it’s personal.

“I took part in sports when I was younger, before becoming a Muslim in 2010.

“I started to wear a headscarf and all of a sudden, it meant I couldn’t take part in a lot of sports.

“This last 14 years has been about creating opportunities for those women that didn’t have them before.”

One of Tucker’s key messages is that Muslim women can take part in sports and should always feel that that opportunity exists for them.

She said: “We can play them and we want to play them as well.

“That’s something we prove every day, that there is a market and there is a need there for it.

“If the right opportunities and right facilities are there, women will come flooding in to join these sessions.”

Bradford gave Tucker a home as a youngster and is somewhere with a significant Muslim population.

The city feels like the perfect fit for the 34-year-old and her sporting projects, and she said: “This is why tonight is even more special.

“I’ve had recognition elsewhere, and I felt really honoured by it, but to be recognised by Bradford is just something else.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Nalette Tucker on stage with presenter Tanya Arnold last Friday.Nalette Tucker on stage with presenter Tanya Arnold last Friday. (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

A decade ago, Tucker founded Sunnah Sports Academy Trust, a registered charity offering sport lessons, including tennis coaching, to communities in Bradford, and she was recognised for her tireless work there by the Lawn Tennis Association last October.

One of the most recognised and prestigious sporting governing bodies in the country, they handed her the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tennis’ Award.

She said: “The LTA have given us so many opportunities and they’ve gone out of their way to try and make sure tennis is accessible in Bradford.

They’re helping refurbish several tennis courts in the city and we’ll be pushing to get some sessions on those.

“The LTA have been fantastic to us and that’s pushed us even more to enjoy the sport and keep facilitating it.”

Tucker has delivered sessions with Judy Murray, a former tennis player and coach herself, and mum of Wimbledon winners Andy and Jamie.

Talking about her relationship with the Scot, Tucker said: “She’s a massive inspiration and I think everyone forgets she was a great player before becoming a coach and mum to Andy and Jamie.

“She’s a woman that has so many things behind her, that she can’t really be defined by one thing.

“She’s been amazing with our women and girls’ sessions, she’s come down, taken part in them and she always meets up with us whenever we go down to Wimbledon.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Nalette Tucker has a lot of fans in Bradford, and a pretty famous one from Scotland too.Nalette Tucker has a lot of fans in Bradford, and a pretty famous one from Scotland too. (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

“She’s someone I really look up to, more so now having met her.”

And speaking about the academy’s regular trips to SW19 to watch high-quality Grand Slam tennis, Tucker said: “I’m 34 now, and it’s taken me a long time to get these opportunities myself.

“The fact that I can give those to these girls before they reach that age is amazing.

“I want to be able to keep doing that, because it’s fantastic.”