Is there a male equivalent?

The Commonwealth Games have arrived!  For 11 days the greatest athletes from across the Commonwealth (an association of sovereign states that the British Empire once claimed as their own with no real authority to do so) will run, jump, swim, cycle, netball and lawn bowls their way to greatness (To clarify, there are many other sports happening at the games too, the full list can be found here).  It’s also another chance for female athletes to prove their skill, strength and sporting prowess to the world and hopefully claim the column inches of the sports section that they deserve.

There’s obviously been pre-games build up in the papers, with  interviews, features and articles about some of this fair British isles’ biggest medal hopes.  Up until Monday when she had to pull out of the games due to a foot injury, Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson was England’s golden hope for these Games.  With no JEnnis-Hill and a blinding season so far, KJT looked set to lead the field and possibly top the podium and so it made sense that The Sunday Times would run an interview with her. I know the phrase is bandied about all over the shop all the time, however with personality, skill and the determination to become a gold medal winner KJT is a pretty good role model for young women and so makes for a great interview subject.  However, she is also a professional athlete.  So why, oh why did The ST decide that an American-Beauty-esque-meet-English-Rose accompanying photo would be a good idea?



Firstly, this makes no sense.  If they were going for an American Beauty type image, then why?  It’s a film about a man who is having such an epically huge midlife crisis he develops an infatuation with his teenage daughter’s best friend.  How does this relate to a heptathlon? Or winning gold medals? Or even winning at all as it really doesn’t end well for Kevin Spacey.  AND America isn’t even part of the Commonwealth.  But more importantly, have any of the male athletes be made to also pose in such a way?

Yes, sports women need more media coverage, but they also need to be taken seriously. How many of the male medal hopefuls would be asked to bed down amongst some flowers for a photoshoot to accompany an article about how they’re going to smash the competition out the park ? Or dress up as Britannian herself a la Victoria Pendleton before London 2012? (I’m aware there’s a lot of questions be asked in this post but I’m proving a point) Yes KJT agreed to it, but she shouldn’t have been asked.



Image from (thanks)

Women’s cricket changes gear


Women’s cricket looks to be setting a sponsorship precedent for women’s sport with the announcement today that the ECB have secured a two year deal with KIA for the women’s team.  This is the first time there’s ever been a standalone sponsorship contract for England’s female team, making it a historic, as well as welcome move.

This new deal shows the momentum behind the women’s game at the moment.  With the realisation finally that Charlotte Edwards et al are a strong and competition winning squad, media coverage has increased thanks to Sky and BBC Radio covering many of the matches, which in turn has brought more exposure, which in turn has led to a prominent sponsorship move. Isn’t it amazing what possibilities become open to teams when the media actually cover their games.

So congrats to the England Women’s team, role models not only for the game itself, but for what happens when the media starts to take women’s sport seriously.

And if you’d like to catch the women in action this summer:

Opposition Date Format Venue
India Women 13.8.14 – 16.8.14 Kia Women’s Test Match Wormsley Cricket Ground
India Women 21.8.14 1st Royal London ODI Scarborough Cricket Club
India Women 23.8.14 2nd Royal London ODI Scarborough Cricket Club
India Women 25.8.14 3rd Royal London ODI Lord’s Cricket Ground
South Africa Women 1.9.14 1st NatWest T20I The Essex County Ground, Chelmsford
South Africa Women 3.9.14 2nd NatWest T20I The County Ground, Northampton
South Africa Women 7.9.14 3rd NatWest T20I Edgbaston



Goals for Girls: A story of women with balls

afiche_ENIn the run up to the World Cup 2014 Amnesty International are running ‘Behind the Lines’, a football film festival out in happy old Hackney.  From 6th-8th June Hackney Picture House will be screening thought provoking Football documentaries and panel discussions focusing on the social and political aspects of the beautiful game, looking at the importance of football off the pitch and away from the stadiums.

My ticket is already booked for ‘Goals for Girls: A story of women with balls‘, a documentary looking into the marginalised world of women’s football in Argentina.  The documentary follows the story of young women from the Villa 31 shanty town as they aim to defy society and take part in the Homeless World Cup, looking at the barriers preventing girls from taking part in one of their nation’s biggest sports.  The film is then followed up by a panel discussion with the likes of Sarah Jane Mee and Anna Kessel as well as one of the film’s directors, Ginger Gentile, as they debate all aspects of women’s football.  Should be good!

Image from (thanks!)

Hello old friend

Ah it has been a while.  A while filled with essay deadlines, exam revision, listless staring out of windows and generally wanting to do everything but the task in hand.  It turns out that when it comes to studying you do not grow more accepting with age, just crankier and more in denial.

However now we’re on to the fun stuff, and by fun stuff I mean my dissertation.  Not everyone’s description of fun I know, but having got my lecturers to agree to my title on Sport for Development I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth sunk into it.  It also means I may have time to actually get some blogging done too, there’s about 101 things I’m meant to have written on over the last few months.  So I should probably get cracking…



Women’s Football Roundup – Week 1 – Here We Go Again

Chelsea Ladies FC v Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC - The FA WSL

It’s happened! We’re 1 week into the new FA WSL season and it’s already miles better than 2013! Why? At least partially because it ACTUALLY STARTED this year. And to think this time a year ago we were suffering through snowed off games. Who ever said global warming was a thing? [Oi - stay on topic! - editor]

Anyway, on a serious note this season may be in its very nascent stages, but it really is shaping up to be something a bit special, because right now it’s proving utterly unpredictable. Event in the depths of its most dramatic moments, last season had the feeling of a fairly predictable turn of affairs, right up to the point where it swept the rug from under everyone’s feet and left Liverpool and Bristol Academy as the top 2. This season…well, we wouldn’t want to be the ones making any predictions.

Notts County Start Strongly

Sure, we may only be days into the new season, but the-team-formerly-known-as-Lincoln-Ladies (or TTFKALL as they like to be known) have made an impressive start to their 2014 campaign. A draw against Arsenal in their opening fixture was probably a fair result, albeit one they were slightly clinging onto come the end of the second half after a tactical rejig by Shelley Kerr at halftime brought Arsenal into the ascendancy, but their two goal victory over Everton, courtesy of Jess Clarke’s brace cemented the new outfit’s impressive early season form. With Ellen White still to come into contention after injury, this may be a team to watch.

Chelsea and Liverpool will duke it out for the title

While the two may have shared a somewhat insipid goalless draw in their respective second outings of the season, these are surely the two sides that will fight it out for the FA WSL crown this season. For Liverpool, this is now well charted territory and they might have made it two victories in two matches but for Gemma Davison’s inability to find the target when well placed early in the second half. For Chelsea, however, the additions of South Korean midfielder Ji So-Yun (perhaps harshly sent off having picked up a second yellow card for diving) and Japanese striker Yuki Ogimi have added a level of nous in attack, while Gilly Flaherty looks an inspired addition in defence. The title winners should emerge from these two teams.

Could Manchester City’s stay in FA WSL 1 be a brief one?

It’s been a tough start to the season for MCWFC. If being drawn away against the league winners in the first match wasn’t hard enough, having to face the runners up in their first home encounter wasn’t exactly a comfortable second step, and a second defeat leaves an awkward record of played 2, lost 2, scored 0, conceded 3. In the strongest mitigating terms, this is a new team still learning to play together and, for the most part, learning what it is to play in the top tier of English football. Unfortunately for City, in an 14 game season there are few chances to claw back lost points. City need a result – any result – on the table and they need it fast.

With a gap of almost a month until their next FA WSL fixtures – the Continental Cup is up next – City have time to gel before their next fixture. That fixture pitches them against an Arsenal side with some work of their own to do this season. It’s never easy in the top flight.


Birmingham 0 – 0 Everton

Notts County 1 – 1 Arsenal

Bristol Academy 0 – 2 Chelsea

Liverpool 1 – 0 Manchester City

Chelsea 0 – 0 Liverpool

Everton 0 – 2 Notts County

Manchester City 0 – 2 Bristol Academy



Image from West London Sport – thanks!