With The Independent on Sunday having thrown down the gauntlet of women’s sport coverage in the press last Sunday, three major questions were at the forefront of The Sportist’s mind this morning. How would the Independent live up to its promises? Would the rest of the press step up to the plate? Why on earth did I think a kebab was a good idea last night?
Although the answer to the third of these mysteries is unlikely to be found in the pages of Fleet Street’s finest (or, indeed, anywhere), the former two are truly intriguing in a week where football, golf, athletics, swimming and cycling all feature highly on the agenda.
The Sunday Mirror
Football’s back! And now just the FAWSL variety, but ALL THE FOOTBALL EVER. Not that you’d know it from the Sunday Mirror, who have entirely failed to mention football at all. Except in their 48 page Premier League guide. And the 20 page football supplement. And on 6 pages of the main sports section. Crikey.
The customary (and, in all honesty, really rather welcome) women’s football brief is present and correct (Chelsea’s new signing, Yuki Ogimi, the subject this week) while there are NIBs on Fran Halsall’s fourth place in the 50m butterfly at the Swimming World Championships and the women’s British Open at St Andrews where victory this afternoon fell to American, Stacy Lewis.
In case we forgot to mention it, there’s also LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOTBALL.
The Sunday Telegraph
If the newspaper roundup was an American high school yearbook, The Sunday Telegraph would carry some sort of witty caption, such as ‘Broadsheet Least Likely To Commit To Women’s Sport Coverage’. As it is, we keep coming back every week in the vain hope that something drastic will have changed in the paper’s approach to women in sport.
This isn’t that week, but there is some coverage with an article covering Laura Davies’ struggles at the British Open and the potential end of her era as the pre-eminent English women’s golfer. Fran Halsall also warrants a mention in a deservedly caustic article about the state of British swimming, while both the women’s 400m and the 4x400m relay are highlighted as ‘events to watch out for’ at the forthcoming Athletics World Championships.
The Mail on Sunday
Look, there’s really not a lot to report here. A little bit on Fran Halsall, a little bit on the British Open and a WHOLE LOT OF FOOTBALL.
Since we started this little project of ours back in the heady days of 2012, The Observer has really led the way in coverage of women’s sport. From regular reporting to in depth features, it’s a paper that approached women’s sport with balance and maturity. But with The Independent setting themselves up as the pre-eminent women’s sport paper, how will The Observer respond?
This week, the answer appears to be ‘not all that well’. There’s specific mention of both the golf and the swimming (very de rigueur) and, encouragingly, the athletics and cycling reports both carry heavy female focuses.
The Independent on Sunday
It’s the big one. How have they done? Well, the truth is, they have done well. Very, very well indeed.
In an article on Chelsea managers, we hardly expected to see Emma Hayes given near equal billing to Jose Mourinho, but thrillingly, we do. Then six of the ten athletes (Blessing Okagbare, Zuzana Hejnova, Tiffany Porter, Jessica Judd, English Gardner – what. a. name. – and Yarislev Silva) picked out as ones to watch in the World Athletics Championships are women. Then there’s Fran Halsall. And then the British Open. Let’s face it, that’s not bad at all.
The Sunday Times
Yes, it’s really here – we’ve managed to salvage a copy! And the sport pages have women in. Oh happy days. There’s a feature on Inbee Park, the world’s best female golfer in the world, on her hope to hold all four majors and a report on Fran Halsall carrying the last glimmer of medal hope at the current swimming championships in Barcelona. (She managed it by the way, getting bronze in the 50m freestyle) There’s also an interview with sprint hurdler USA’s 21 year old star Brianna Rollins as she makes her final preparations for her World Championship campaign next week. Quite glad we found a copy now. – FQ
Image from Skysports.com – thank you!