Wonder Women: Summer of Sport

Captain cool: Mithali Raj calmly reads her book whilst leading India to a 35 run victory over England in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

There has been a long battle for women’s sports to get the same recognition as men’s, but as I write this blog we are in the midst of something of a revolution. It’s been a long time coming! A staggering 25.4 million viewers watched Carli Lloyd’s hat-trick seal a third world cup for USA in 2015, making it the most-watched game of football ever in the United States – smashing the previous record during the men’s 2014 World Cup out the water. The 2016 Olympics and Paralympics saw Team GB scoop 67 medals to finish second in the medal table in Rio – with women winning 48% of the medals. All the numbers point to the fact that there is a growing appetite and audience for women’s sport – we’re voting with our remotes, and broadcasters are listening.

Which brings us to this summer – something of a landmark in women’s sport, with more opportunities than ever before to watch incredible sportswomen playing at the top of their game.

The summer started with England hosting – and winning – the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. In a dramatic final, 25-year-old Anya Shrubsole took player-of-the-match for her phenomenal six wicket haul. India’s captain Mithali Raj won hearts around the world earlier in the tournament for calmly reading her book whilst waiting to bat – talk about captain cool!

Already this month, a global audience of 750 million people watched the UEFA Women’s European Championships. But don’t worry, you’ve not missed out! There’s still a whole lot of sporting action in August.

Currently underway in Ireland is the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Current World Cup holders England come into the tournament in great form and will be looking to defend their title. If you’re new to rugby and looking to support some awesome girls, why not back the Welsh? Rhe Wales side find themselves as underdogs needing to finish ahead of both New Zealand and Canada to progress. 20-year-old centre Hannah Jones starts in midfield and uncapped teenagers Lleucu George and Kelsey Jones will be looking to help the Welsh side create an upset.

The World Athletics Championships come to a close this weekend (August 13) with the women’s 800m final. It’s sure to be a thrilling event – can 24-year-old Francine Niyonsaba finally break Caster Semenya’s dominance in the distance? With seven athletes finishing in under 2:00 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting in July, it’s a must-watch final!

Later in the month we can look forward to the Euro Hockey championships and the badminton world championships. Keep an eye on the blog for some Wonder Women to watch out for in those tournaments, along with the latest news in the world of women’s sports. We’ll also take a look back to some of the sporting heroes of the past that have inspired girls around the globe.

-Sarinda Bains
Volunteer
Girl Museum Inc.

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