Derby County Women winger Kira Rai was recently presented with an award in Parliament.

The Sikh Network, in conjunction with the Sikh Federation and the APPG for British Sikhs, hosted their Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab (Birthday) Celebrations at the Houses of Parliament at the start of December and Rai was invited to attend the event.

The event itself was an evening of celebration, inspiration and recognition and a unique opportunity to share the message of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, of One God, Truth and Equality. Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the founder of Sikh faith and the first of the 11 Sikh Gurus.

The event presented the ideal opportunity to share inspirational aspects of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life and recognise British Sikhs who have contributed to the community and society at large over the last year.

Rai was presented with an accolade for her contribution to sport as a British Sikh living in the UK.

Upon receiving the award, Rai said: “I am really proud to have received this award in parliament as being a Sikh and playing football are two things that are very important to me.

“I understand that I have a responsibility to act as a role model on and off the pitch for young South Asian girls wanting to play football so I am very grateful for all the opportunities I get that can help to inspire the next generation.”

On the pitch, she has progressed through the youth ranks in the Women’s set-up after joining as an Under-10s player, to eventually earn herself a place in the senior squad. She is closing in on 100 appearances for the Ewes and has shown herself to be a fine role model for girls across Britain's South Asian community.

Off the field, she has become a leading voice for South Asian women in competitive English football and conducted several media activities to share her story.

Earlier this season, Rai became the first South Asian heritage footballer, male or female, ever to present an award at the annual Asian Media Awards back in October.

She presented the first-ever Diversity in Media accolade at the Asian Media Awards to Sky Sports in recognition of efforts to improve representation, and commitment towards British South Asians in Football.