It’s that time of the week again when we rummage through the top press titles in the UK to see what the papers have to say about women’s sport. This is not only an exercise in getting me out of bed on a Sunday morning to get the papers before they sell out (which apparently newspapers do – who knew!) but also a chance to celebrate or shame the media giants.
First up, The Mirror. I’m not going to lie, I was so underwhelmed by The Mirror i’ve accidently already thrown it out for recycling. Needless to say there was diddly squat mention of women’s sport. Nadda. Niente. N ichts. In fact, unless it’s premier league football or horse racing (with male jockeys) then I’m not sure it exists this week in whatever universe The Mirror’s writing staff inhabit.
The Sunday Telegraph
In recent weeks the STel has been distinctly mediocre in its reporting of women’s sport and this Sunday’s offering does not divert from this lukewarm path. The STel seems to have a limit of reporting on only one women’s sporting event per week, this time being a reminder to readers that although our women tennis players haven’t won as much as Andy Murray (whose ‘action shot’ photo dominates the majority of the page) they’re doing pretty well. The crux of the article is Heather Watson joining Laura Robson in the women’s elite ranks thanks to her place in and subsequential win of the Japanese Open, but it also highlights both Watson and Robson’s incredible last 10 months. It also points out that until three weeks ago the most recent British Woman to reach a WTA final was Jo Durie in 1990 (before both Watson and Robson were even born) and therefore the last few week’s success is a Pretty Big Deal. Its great that STel realise and appreciate the enormity of these achievements, however it would be nice if they perhaps gave it a bit more precedence in their sports pages.
Indie Indie Indie, what do you have for us today? With rugby (mens) on the front page of the sports supplement and football dominating the rest of the first half, things weren’t looking hopeful for women’s sports. But then there it was, a tennis article that, although raving on about Murray beating Feds, also mentions Watson making it to the Japanese final (her first WTA’s final by the way). Okay so the reporting on Watson only takes up about 1/8th of the article, but at least its there. The trouble is that regardless of the achievement British Women’s Tennis has made recently, Murray is just playing too damn well currently and hogging the headlines!
On the next page there’s the generally rubbish news that many athletes, including a lot of Team GB’s women who underachieved at London 2012, will be having their funding reduced or cut completely when UK Athletics announce a drastically reduced list of Lottery-Funded athletes for 2012-2013. Then there’s an interview with Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber’s new team principal and one of the few women in the world of Formula One and finally the news that Nicola Adams will be making history again this week by attending the Boxing Writer’s Club annual dinner this week. This will make her and her female compatriots the first women to attend the dinner in the club’s 61-year history. Well done Independent, you have made us happy.
The Sunday Times
In a way the sport supplement of this week’s ST does lead with a story of women in sport. It’s not a report or coverage of sporting achievement, but instead an interview with some of the women who initially blew the whistle again Lance Armstrong’s doping and the subsequential hell Armstrong tried to make their lives. After speaking out about the cycling cheat…sorry, hero…no cheat Armstrong carried out a smear campaign against Betsy Andreu and Emma O’Reilly, portraying one as a half crazed jealous wife and the other as an alcoholic who had ‘inappropriate relationships’ with US Postal team members that she worked with at the time. discrediting both women and their statements.
The ST is also continuing its ‘Sports Women of the Year Award’2012, with a feature this week on that history maker and personal favourite Nicola Adams and there’s also a small article on Watson making the tennis final, sandwiched in around a much much larger article about Murray defeating Feds in the semi final.
NB: Watson won her match and the Japanese Final, Murray lost his to Djokovic. Just sayin’
As far as it goes in the world of women’s sport in the press, The Observer has been the bastion of reporting. Some good news and something that will definitely be making a blog post appearance soon is the news that the achievements of Robson and now Watson have encouraged a record number of young women to take up tennis. That’s 100,000 under 18s playing at Lawn Tennis Association-registered club, a 17% rise on last year. This is really great news for the sport and we can only hope to see more of the same throughout the next tennis season. Yes Seb Coe, it does look like some of that generation has most definitely been inspired.
Inside the sport supplement there’s a further interview with Emma O’Reilly on the effects of getting on the wrong side of Lance Armstrong and after pages and pages and PAGES of football, tennis makes an appearance with an article mostly about Murray, but a little bit about Heather Watson also.
AND FINALLY, Alison Williamson, six time member of the Team GB Olympic archery team is turning on the Christmas lights in Stafford…so now you know.