As we head rapidly towards the eve of Christmas its time to see if the Sunday newspaper are going to give any early Christmas presents to women’s sport or be their usual Grinchy self. Apologies for the smaller selection of papers this week, I’m back in the Shire for the festive season and my local shop apparently only stocks about five copies of each paper apart from the Mail on Sunday which lines every shelf of the store. I don’t know what that says about the area I live in, but needless to say that on getting down to said shop after 10am this morning most of the socially acceptable papers had gone so like a mother at Christmas during rationing, let’s make the most of what we have available….(apart from the Mail on Sunday as hell would be more likely to freeze over than me buy a copy)
The Sunday Telegraph
The STel is not generally a fan of women playing sport so hopes were not high as I delved into this weekend’s copy. Yet lo, on turning to the back page a figure appeared unto me, one of muscular physique, in a sporting pose, wielding a tennis racket but equipped with a pair of breasts also. Yes, up and coming tennis superstar Heather Watson has almost a full half page dedicated to her interview. Exciting times, I thought as I saw the article, however my heart dropped somewhat on reading the article headline ‘ Watson: I’m lonely and I don’t fit in.’ Excellent, just bloody excellent.
Turns out Watson is lonely because whilst touring she does spend a lot of time on her own going from tournament to tournament and she doesn’t fit in as she is a more bubbly chatty person than some of the ‘ice maidens’ (the writers words, not mine) who inhabit the top tennis playing circles. Although I’m pleased the STel have acknowledged that women can play sport, I don’t remember the last time a male athlete’s feature opened with a headline regarding their mental state and lack of social acceptance in their chosen sport.
Aside from the feature there is also a NIB about the Malaysian World no.1 squash player Nicol David who is only one title away now from matching her male equivalent’s tally. This week she beat England’s Laura Massaro in the final of the women’s World open in the Cayman Islands. So there you have it.
The Sunday Mirror
Ah the Sunday Football, how full your pages are of football reporting. Football, Football, a tiny bit of cricket, darts, football, a splattering of rugby, horse racing, football, a football pull out supplement and ooo a NIB mentioning the squash Women’s World Open final match between Massaro and David all summarised into about 30 words. And that’s your lot for this week. Not even the usual blink and you miss it piece on women’s football in the supplement. Oh and it had been going so well with the Sunday Football. Poor show.
The Independent on Sunday
The Indie generally likes to be a bit different from the competition by actually commenting on women’s sport and this week, although not being great, still looks like its burning all its bras whilst hollering frantically for further equality and social change in comparison to the other papers.
There’s a double page feature this week on Paula Dunn, a retired Olympic athlete in her own right, who has recently become the first female head coach to be appointed by UK athletics. She will be heading up the coaching of the Team GB Paralympic Athletic squad in their preparation for Rio 2016, aiming to improve the team’s medal haul from this year’s Games. Included in this article is also a small inset of other pioneering female coaches, to which the paper can highlight three. (Nancy Liberman, Hope Powell and Liz McColgan if you’re interested)
The Independent also, although not specifically about women in sport, mentions the horrendous cuts some of UK’s sports teams have faced in UK Sport’s fund allocations earlier this week. With sports like Volleyball losing pretty much all funding, figureheads such as Martine Wright, who has repeatedly spoken about how sitting volleyball helped her rehabilitation after loosing both her legs in the 2005 London bombings, are unsure if their sport can now continue.
Finally there’s some speculating about who will receive Knight and Damehoods from the sporting world in this New Year’s Honours list, with a firm consensus that the awesome Sarah Storey could/should be putting DBE after her name soon.
Merry Christmas everybody!