Women’s Sport vs The Media – 18.08.13


When, on Friday evening, I enthusiastically volunteered to write this weekend’s media roundup it was a decision that came from a good place.  Some excellent personal news earlier in the week coupled with a return to properly committed fitness and the prospect of the new Premier League season combined to put me in an excellent mood.  Add in the Athletic World Championships, Solheim Cup, IPC Swimming World Championships and the Women’s Ashes and things were looking utterly excellent.  And then came yesterday.  Yesterday and a reminder that football is going to make this a VERY LONG 9 months.

Having run out (most of) the rage, I’ll do my level best to keep this thing positive.  If I break down in tears at the sight of Lukas Podolski playing at full-back, though, I can only apologise…

The Sunday Times

OH GOD, THERE’S A PICTURE OF CHRISTIAN BENTEKE…breathe.  Breathe.  Compose yourself.  Stamp on the paper a little bit.  There, that’s better.  And it all gets a little bit better over the page as suddenly there stands the mighty Christine Ohuruogu, newly crowned 400m World Champion, a bronze medalist in the 4x400m relay (alongside Eilidh Child, Shana Cox and Margaret Adeoye) and quite possibly Britain’s greatest female athlete.  Not bad for a mid-summer jaunt to Russia, hey?  Andrew Longmore’s profile/report is, in and of itself, a thing of beauty and rarity – a real insight into the mindset of a great Great British athlete and a point of encouragement for all wannabe athletes: Longmore recounts her coach Lloyd Cowan’s early impressions of a 19-year old Ohuruogu arriving to do fitness training for her netball: ‘I stuck her in with the quarter milers and never paid any attention to her.  I said to another of the coaches, ‘She’s just a netball players’.’  Quite the netball player, then.

Tiffany Porter’s 100m hurdles bronze also gets a mention, as does England’s 3-0 victory over Spain in the first match of the EuroHockey championships and Stephanie Slater’s S8 100m butterfly silver in the IPC Swimming World Championships.

David Walsh salutes Marion Bartoli’s courageous retirement decision while, finally, there is a super article on the Solheim Cup and the brilliant Anna Nordqvist.  All in all an excellent week for the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Telegraph

Ah, the Sunday Telegraph, a paper I always open with genuine trepidation by virtue of the fact that it is so reliably useless with women’s sport.  Today there’s only the 8 (out of a total of 14) pages dedicated to football.  8.  8 out of 14.  Look, I know, you know, we all know that football is well-loved in this country.  I absolutely love it. But EIGHT OUT OF FOURTEEN PAGES?!  Jeez.

The female athletes, Ohuruogu, Porter et. al. get a sidebar column all to themselves alongside a massive page on Usain Bolt and Adam Gemili (and as good as Gemili has been in these championships, how his efforts demand greater attention than the ACTUAL MEDALS won by the ladies, I will never know) and there’s also a nib on the hockey.  Which looks like it’s going to be it, until an unexpected back page feature on the Solheim Cup.  Frankly, one has to applaud the Ladies Golf Media and Press teams, who’ve done a superb job getting this much (well-deserved) national coverage.

The Sunday Mirror

It’s okay, ladies and gents.  I’ve skipped over the back page here with all its Arsenal coverage.  I’m safe.  There will be no screaming tantrums.  OH GOD IT’S THERE ON THE SECOND PAGE TOO.  AND THE THIRD PAGE.  WHAT IS THIS, WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME, YOU EVIL HARBINGER OF DOOM?!

Phew.  That was a close one.  Having successfully skipped the million pages of football coverage (and no, that isn’t including the separate football pullout section…) there’s actually a few mentions of women’s sport here, with Tiffany Porter and the 4x400m team both covered, as well as the hockey and the Solheim Cup.  Deep into the football pullout, there’s also Tony Leighton’s women’s football column (Birmingham vs. Arsenal this time).

The Mail on Sunday

The Mail on Sunday is always a bit of an unpredictable one for me.  On the one hand, my expectations are always in the gutter, linked as it is to some socio-political views that I will gently categorise as not 100% aligned to my own.  On the other hand, it occasionally pulls out some blinding women’s sport coverage.  What a dilemma.

Unfortunately, this one’s a bad week.  The British female athletics contingent are buried away at the bottom of an article dominated by the (admittedly amazing) Usain Bolt, while Solheim Cup coverage is limited to a short piece on a piece of controversial officialdom from the first day.  And that’s the lot.  Worse than the Sunday Telegraph.  Crikey.

The Observer

Breathe.  Breathe, it’s nearly over.  Soon you won’t have to think about the football any more.  Just open up The Observer, peel back its plastic wrapping, delve into the sport section and IT’S ALL OVER THE FRONT PAGE AND WE LOST AND I GET IT AND OH PLEASE JUST MAKE IT GO AWAY.

Suffering through the 8 pages of football coverage, the athletics pages form a welcome distraction and, lo-and-behold, both Tiffany Porter and the 4x400m teams are well covered.  It’s not quite up there with the Sunday Times’ efforts, but it’s still a good piece of profile for two of the most exciting successes at these World Championships.

Both the hockey and the Solheim Cup take some column inches, but the golf in particular is slightly disappointing commanding only about an eighth of a page compared to the really rather good efforts in the Times and the Telegraph.

The Independent on Sunday

Frustratingly, there was not a single copy of the Indy to be found in the stores of South West London this morning, leaving a rather gaping hole in this week’s media review.  It may well be that our Editor can pick up a copy, in which case expect something to appear here later on today.  Otherwise, we’ll be back to fully stocked levels next week.  Promise.

Image from dailymail.co.uk – Thanks!



One comment

  1. The “just a netball player” comment sadly says everything about the way what is a largely female sport is perceived in this country.

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