Monday, February 28, 2011

Irish women win over Scotland

This was definitely a weekend when it was better to watch the women's rugby teams in action  - from an Irish perspective that is.

While the men stuttered to a win over Scotland, the women stormed home with a 4-try victory against their Scottish opponenets. Yes, I know a win is a win but beautiful rugby is a thing to see and that's what was on show at Lasswade in Scotland. Tries came off for Lynne Cantwell, Geraldine Rea and Niamh Briggs. The Irish are now third in the Six Nations behind France and England.

(You'll have to forgive the short and late posting. We had a mini-political revolution at the election polls here in Ireland. One party, which has been in power for 61 out of the 79 years of independence, crashed out. The count goes on for some time in Ireland as we have proportional representation so every vote really counts, and re-counts and re-checks. Normal service resuming tomorrow after this blogger has some sleep.)

Geraldine Rea, Ireland

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rugby weekend in Europe

Well, both Irish teams - male and female - are in action this weekend. No prizes for guessing which team will get the live-to-air coverage. But to be fair, the boys did win the whole Six Nations competition two years ago so maybe when the women win, things will change. The women's team were unlucky to lose against France two weeks ago in the last leg of the tournament so everyone is hopeful things will go better against Scotland tonight. This video is, well, funny comes close! 
Comedian Jon Gabrus wants to prepare for watching the Six Nations. He tries to keep up with American women's rugby star Phaidra Knight here but doesn't quite make it.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Glowing Edge Vs Bruising

Two of the women boxers featured in this blog will soon face off in the ring. They share more than a few traits; both are, umm, older than the average boxer, both work in the media and both came to boxing late in life.

Lisa from The Glowing Edge - you may remember her from this interview here, and Mischa Merz - her book reviewed here, will fight as the main even on a show in Atlanta later this year. Now if only I had some sponsorship, that would make a great trip.

You might see both fighters here again before the big night. In the meantime, any other athletes or bloggers you'd like to see interviewed here, leave a comment with your suggestions...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: basketball

Flickr pic from chris honiball

Bit later than usual this week, apologies!

Wordless Wednesday is a group of bloggers who give words a break once a week.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Butterfly Effect

You know how everyone says you should take up a sport, meet some people and get out and about? A group of women kayakers and surfers do just that - in ten different countries around the world. The Butterfly Effect  was set up about four years by Tatiana Howard ago to encourage women to get in the water.

But it's not just about having fun. The list of sponsored activities goes on and on ...." teaches kids the sports, encourages yoga for injury prevention and health, donates to charities by funds, clothing, food and/or school/art supplies, and cleans up beaches around the globe."

The next event is on March 26th in Grindelwald Switzerland. It's the first snow event so will be interesting to see if it gets the same enthusiastic turn-out. This video is from one of the 2010 events in Fiji.

Fiji Expedition Butterfly Effect 2010 from Tatiana Howard on Vimeo.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Surfkayak Newcomer 2011

Warning: this post contains nepotism!

Aisling Griffin Watertech
Surf kayak and waterski company Watertech give away a surf-kayak to PaddleSurf Ireland's Best Newcomer. This year Aisling Griffin took the prize. She won a funky new boat on the back of solid placings in Irish competitions and coming third in the British Open at the end of last year. 

Aisling and her team-mate Muireann Lynch were training and paddling with the UCC university kayak team this weekend with great results there too. You can read more about the Irish Surf Kayak team (and their sponsor Munster Dive and Canoe!) at Irish Surf Kayak Team and Surf Championships

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who should play Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman womenanimating
So it looks like the new Wonder Woman series is happening. It's not really clear how they're going to vamp her up for the new century but could be a lot of fun.
DC Women Kicking Ass says the script calls for a real woman who is powerful but vulnerable.Right, a real woman who runs around dressed like that and saves the world. Maybe it was simpler being a Superhero 30 years ago, that's definitely not something that came across in our childhood memories?

The rest of the released script says: "Female, late 20s to 30s. A kick-ass Superhero / Powerful C.E.O. / A vulnerable woman. Long flowing black hair, blue eyes. Amazon-like, muscular, an Olympian. The charismatic stage presence of a rock star. A crime fighter. Also, a real woman who yearns to live a normal life. She is accessible and appealing to all people, men and women alike…"
We talked about the ideas for the new WW costume here.

Who do you think should play Wonder Woman?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

British fighter Julie Kitchen

Julie Kitchen pic Adam Gibbard
British Muay Thai fighter Julie Kitchen combines motherhood with an inspiring fighting career. Her record of  50 fights over the last 10 years counts 42 wins, 8 losses and has clocked up 22 belts ... so far. Kitchen has made huge strides in a relatively short career, about 8 years in total; seen by most experts as the most successful female fighter in the UK. She holds ten world titles across a range of sanctioning bodies and weights - usually in the mid-60 kgs range.

She defeated American Angela Parr, Spaniard Loly Munoz-Garcia, and New Zealand fighter Karen Lynch on the way but lost out to Germaine de Randamie - no shame there.

TV Coach
Her next move is as a TV coach on American series Enfusion. Kitchen will teach a team of fighters in a form of kickboxing - it's not on air yet but seems to be a mixture of superpro/ K1 rules but set in Thailand.

Both her daughters train in boxing now too. It's really exciting to see new generations of women just taking up boxing as a right, without any drama or fears of prejudice. And to see that looking after your family doesn't have to mean an end to a professional career in such a demanding sport.

Do you know any other women continuing with elite-level sports while being a parent on the side?



Inspiring Sports Women was invited to be part of the Fanatchicks network.Exciting news, as it's always great to meet more women who love sport!
Founded by an American football fan, the site is a great place to find other bloggers and read up-to-date sports news ... and yes, they cover male sports too.
For more All-Women news, pop over to Women Talk Sports.   and then get back to work!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dutch fighter Germaine de Randamie

MuayThai fighters rarely make it into mainstream attention, women MuayThai fighters even more rarely. But Dutch fighter Germaine de Randamie broke that mould a long time ago. Having defeated everyone (yes, everyone; Europeans, Australians and Americans that's 37 for 37 in total) who came against her, she's now starting out in MMA.

Great quotes from the video interview below: "I love fighting. It's my work, and I come to work with a smile every day."

There is more info on Germaine's Facebook page  And, btw, she's in Dublin CA not Dublin, Ireland ...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Women's rugby Six Nations

Marie Louise Reilly, Ireland pic: rsb 6 nations
UPDATE: For this year's matches and comments, click RUGBY

Nothing like cheering on three teams over a weekend and having them all lose. Ah yes, this is why individual sports are actually better - less emotional investment, fewer people to feel bad for and all-round a less traumatic experience.

So the Irish women's rugby team were edged out by France on a score of 14-12. Full-back Niamh Briggs managed to sound positive afterwards so we will see how the rest of the tournament goes. She said in an interview that:

"It showed that we can live with France who are an incredible team. We'll live and learn, we're a young squad, we're developing and we'll bring it again for the Scotland match. We need to keep improving and believing in ourselves. There’s a great spirit and we are learning all the time. I hope we can carry that on.”  Inspiring attitude but really I think the photo says it all.

And the men's team were also pipped by France, plus the men's Munster team. This blog is now returning to boxing as being a more uplifting sport for the rest of the week!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Southern Warriors

I have been known to uh "mention" how many mainstream newspapers ignore female athletes. So when I saw this great multimedia presentation on the Sydney Morning Herald I had to share it with you. Now, like me, you may not know a single thing about cricket but I really enjoyed watching it - photos, music, interviews and just good fun in praise of the Aussie women's cricket team.

It's not embeddable but you can follow the link right here - Women's Ashes Southern Warriors 

Have you seen anything like this in your media that you'd like to share?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptian rower Heba Ahmed

Egyptian rower Heba Ahmed Beijing Olympics Hijab
Rower Heba Ahmed PIC via Pictures of Muslims wearing things

France24 reported this week that Egyptian women are "out in force" at the Tahrir Square this week. And as today could be the most significant day in modern Egyptian history, it seems a good moment to post again about another inspiring woman from Egypt.

Heba Ahmed made it to the quarter- finals in the single-scull in Beijing - getting a raft of coverage for her clothing and her political stance in competing at all - but had earlier taken bronze at the All Africa Games.She was one of the first athletes to compete at an Olympics wearing a hijab.

Looking for recent reports of her competition didn't bring up much, the coverage is really dominated by the clothing issue once again. Fair enough, she didn't win gold but surely getting to the last 24 in any world competition deserves a small mention somewhere?

I posted here and here on some other Egyptian athletes.

Egyptian rower Heba Ahmed Hijab Olympics

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cross-training to do or not to do?

Goergl FIS
Austrian skiier Elisabeth Goergl not only skies but is a fan of Thai boxing ( cough, the best martial art around IMHO). And on Monday we learned that she can sing too. Not a bad CV when you add in winning the Women's Super G this week at the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. She beat Lindsey Vonn to the win, more on Vonn here.

She sang the official song at the opening ceremonies on Monday.  Now you might that think someone who clocked up five medal-places on the World Cup tour in 2008 wouldn't feel nervous about a little song but she said in an interview: "Even before I sang in Zauchensee I had that racing heart feeling, the same like if you do an exam or when I’m at the start [of a World Cup race]. But I think it will be OK.”

Thai Boxing
But when it comes to Thai boxing, she has the same love that most people who give it a go discover. She says: ""Thai boxing is great to let off steam, to free your head. That's what I need." Maybe that's what helped her win two bronze medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Goergl pic sottozeronews

Do you think it's important to cross-train and mix it up?  Or do you worry about injury and stick to one sport?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Win for Ireland in 6 Nations Rugby

Claire Molloy Ireland 

It's Six Nations Rugby time again. Ireland won out against Italy in their first matches - a good win by the women of 26-5 while the men scraped a win with 13-11.

The match reports indicate that while it took some time to get going, that the second half was an inspiring one for Irish fans to see. A score like that in an away game is a really great way to start the series of matches. Next up is France at home in Meath next Friday.

You can follow the games between Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy here on the RBS 6 nations Rugby Women's page.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are violent females in movies a good thing?

Have you seen Hanna? I saw the trailer here in Ireland at the weekend - and I'll be going. Yes, I know it's violent but isn't it about time we recognised that violence isn't a gendered thing, that everyone is capable of inflicting pain?
And more than a tad refreshing to see two main characters played by women who stay dressed for the duration (what I saw) of the film. What do think - violent female characters as a step forward or a regression?


Friday, February 4, 2011

Resolutions Update 1

I don't know about you, but I often find the best way to keep a plan going is to tell a few people it's happening. So I'm going to try and keep ye olde resolutions to the front by embarrassing myself every month with an update.

The sports/health resolutions were:
    * Keeping back injuries at bay with clinical pilates
    * Working on the base I've built-up to start running again
    * Keeping respiratory illnesses at bay and getting back in the water
    * Doing a multi-day walk in Ireland
    * Climbing a mountain - any mountain but no roads allowed 

 - My back is going well, big relief there and all down to clinical pilates. Deceptively simple but successful.
 - Two and three were a wipe-out thanks to the wonders of the damp climate here - hated by my lungs 
 - The walk is definitely a summer plan!
- Well, not a mountain but we did take a bus to the top of Howth Hill (pictured) and walk down. Not much but definitely an improvement on a few months ago.

How're you doing with your New Year resolutions??

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Women's Soccer Egypt

Dr Sahar Al-Hawari
Founder of the women's soccer team in Egypt Dr. Sahar Al-Hawari says playing sport is far better for the girls than doing nothing, and she doesn't see any contradiction with Islamic teaching in this. One of the players Inji Mohammed Ali says she gets lots of teasing from her male friends but thinks they will accept it soon.

Maybe it's a good thing she doesn't know that British women are still fighting for equality on the soccer field 40 years after the first organised games! See this post for more.

There's a great video with interviews on YouTube - unfortunately the Embed function was disabled so you'll have to click over! 


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Egyptian athlete Jihan El Midnay flies the flag

Jihan El Midany Pic: Egyptian Street

In 2010 Jihan El Midany became the first woman to carry the Egyptian national flag into an Olympic cermony - the Youth Olympics in August. She competed in the pentathlete event (fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running) coming 12th.

In an interview at the time, she said: "I was sick and dizzy. After fencing, I felt like collapsing, and after the swim I was really tired.I never really thought of eating, but I thought of drinking because I’ve been perspiring a lot. While training I was fasting but when I was sick, I had to take medication so I did not fast.”

The games took place last year during the Muslim month of Ramadan hence the references to fasting.

The sixteen year old had to make some tough clothing decisions - confronting her own traditional views of women's dress. 

She has said in interviews that she was initially reluctant to wear the revealing swimwear but her family persuaded her that it would be alright as she couldn't compete without conforming to the competition dress rules. 

(Update on this: In 2014 she said: "I want to prove that the veil does not have to prevent girls from doing anything," according to a piece on Egyptian Street.)

I came across El Midany's story reading Egyptian blogger Egyptian Chronicles, you can read more over at this post on the blog Muslim Women in Sport.

What do you think about the sportswear some athletes have to wear - swimming and beach volley-ball spring to mind?