Friday, September 30, 2011

European surfers compete in Ireland

Eurosurf Bundoran 2011 is continuing over the weekend. A few of the women out on the water in this video from this week's competition.

Have a great weekend! 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can men and women play on the same football team?

This story took a few minutes to sink in. So, Mo Isom is a soccer-goalie with the LSU university team in Louisiana. And she's been spotted on the training field with the male American Football team on-campus, the Tigers.
american football Mo Isom gridiron
Mo Isom

It seems she's been in discussions with the coaches, and will try out in the spring for a place on the team. She's not the first, see this post on Jen Hilton in the UK. And ESPN reports here that Kate Hnida was on the University of Colarado team with disastrous results for her safety and health; constant sexual harassment and she says she was raped but never felt able to name her attacker because of the culture in the sport and attitude to women who speak out about sex-crimes.

Isom has been training for eight months so far, and according to local reports is looking like a solid kicker for the team if she makes it.

Irish blogger and American Football fan, Emmet Ryan thinks: "Mo Isom couldn't have found a better place to take her shot. LSU's coach, Les Miles, has never been afraid to be creative and the fans won't question him using a female kicker. There's a solid recent history of soccer players moving into kicking roles on American Football teams so if Isom has the leg she'll have a great chance at making it."

So - is she taking on too much? can women play against men in such a physical game? 

Thanks to Action81 for drawing my attention to this one. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ferial Ameeroedien MuayThai

Ferial Ameeroedion (Felix)

Kelly Bourke

Thanks to Cecile Chemin for sharing some of her pictures from the show in Dublin on Saturday. More of her fab shots here and here on Flickr.

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


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amateur MuayThai world championships

Busy week this. The IFMA World Championships kick off (sorry) in Uzbekistan with the finals taking place on the 26th and 27th.Women from Germany, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and Iraq competed yesterday -  a few surprises there. I remember being told many times that Kazakhstan would never field a woman's team, great to see that changing. Sadly Ireland doesn't have any fighters at all competing this year, thank you recession.

IFMA World Championships
And outside the ring, the highlight for women fighters is the launch of the Female Commission under Kiwi Sue Glassey. President of the Oceania federation and a successful fighter in her day Glassey has been pushing hard for greater prominence for women fighters over the last few months. Looks like it's paying off. There's been so much progress, will be interesting to see how much more can be done.

Some great photos from last year's contest and the Sports Accord on the new IFMA Female Commission here on FB.

Do you think it's more effective to split sports organisations into male and female admin sides?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Eurosurf in Bundoran, Ireland

Eurosurf 2011 is possible the only surfing competition this year to have been opened by a bagpipe band? 

Open to correction here but Saturday's parade in Bundoran, Donegal - below - leaves you in doubt where the contest is taking place. Surfer Easkey Britton walks past for Ireland along with Shauna Ward and body boarder Ashleigh Smith. (and some guys too) In all 13 countries are taking part according to their website, with about 160 surfers. Yesterday was the first day of competition. I can't find results yet anywhere but will update you during the week. More photos are here on the tournament FB page.  They're also showing Bethany Hamilton's Soul Surfer as part of the festivities, great to see that getting time.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

September the end for Nyad?

They say third time lucky but it didn't hold true for American Diana Nyad today. Having already cancelled her swim in 2010, and earlier this summer Nyad was forced to pull out of a swim from Cuba to Florida. She had completed almost 80 (50 miles) of the 166 kms (103 miles) journey when she swam into jelly-fish.

Diana Nyad 2011

Not just any old jelly-fish but a group of Portuguese Man-of-War. Frightening to say the least, she told AP her spine had been temporarily paralysed by the stings. It must have been so frustrating for her; all of that training and now to pull-out for the third time on top of her 1978 attempt. That said, it's incredible she was able to get to that level of fitness and keep going on her way at all at the age of 62. I almost hope she doesn't try again - is that wrong of me?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Using technology to keep fit

October is a funny time, could be gloomy 'cause the days are getting shorter but it's also a good time to start over and get ready for a fit winter season. This article below is one I wrote on using fitness gadgets to keep the motivation going. Especially important for those of us about to be deprived of warm beach-runs.

Open publication - Free publishing - More exercise

The  magazine Life and Fitness is available in Ireland and online at Issuu.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Irish Sports woman of the month

High jumper Deirdre Ryan was named Sportswoman of the month this week in Ireland for her great performance in Korea.

Deirdre Ryan in Korea
Ryan came 6th in the World Championships breaking the Irish record (her own) and qualifying for London 2012 on the way with a final height of 1.95m.

As someone who finds jumping walls just to get somewhere more than enough effort, the high jump has always fascinated me. They look so graceful and make it seem effortless but therein lies the secret I guess.

If you pick, which Olympic sport would like to do?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Steph Gilmore surfer pic: tracksmag

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

(story on Gilmore's on-going recovery from an attack in December is at Tracks mag )

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coolangatta Gold Ironwoman

Ironwoman Courtney Hancock AUS
Lots of focus on the male rugby teams down in the Southern Hemisphere this month and while reading the Aussie papers for news of their reaction to the Irish win (see how I got that in there), an interview with Ironwoman Courtney Hancock scrolled-up.
The Coolangatta Gold takes place this weekend in Queensland, Australia. Having twice finished in the top three, Hancock is going all out this year. The race - 46 kms of ocean swim, surf-ski, and board paddle broken up by three runs - is the longest of its kind in the world. Competitors can also go for what's described as "the short run" at just 30.5 kms.

In the interview Hancock,23, describes the respect she has for this race, compared to other Ironwoman events. "The Coolangatta Gold takes 3½ hours - and it can feel like a lifetime. Grandfather's (a life saver in his day) notion of an inner belief is crucial when you stand on the line and wait for the race to start. I don't know how anyone could compete if they had any doubt about their preparation or training. Confidence in sport comes from ticking all the boxes, and then doing more."

Another article focused on how she gave up a vegetarian lifestyle three years ago for her sport. You do hear of veggie Olympians and other elite athletes but it must be difficult to get that much protein in from soy especially for events like this.

Courtney Hancock AUS
And like many water-sports fans, she's involved with an eco-group working to protect whales and dolphines. The "Get wet for whales' initiative helps fund research through sponsored sports-events. You can read more about that on Hancock's website here.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Growing flowers from your shoes

Take one pair of smelly, used-up running shoes, bury in the garden. Wait. Flowers sprout. Really. I haven't been drinking wine this hour of the morning, Oat Shoes do just that.

Made from hemp and cotton, the idea is that you run, use them up and instead of dumping them on the growing mountain of garbage we produce every year, you bury them so they can biodegrade and then the flower-thing happens. 

Oat Shoes
According to their brochure: "The ingredients used for OAT's recipe are a combination of natural materials like hemp, bio-cotton and cork, together with certified biodegradable plastics. This means a given amount of the plastic has been tested to break down in an ideal environment for 90+% in 6 months." 

It's not quite as magical as it sounds, the seeds are contained in the tongue of the shoes and that's designed to decompose and spread the love once the shoes are buried. The Dutch company ships overseas so there's no excuse. (Although as I type that I'm wondering does having shoes shipped to my little island negate the eco-benefit of growing them afterwards??)

An Italian fan of the shoes walked the length of the Danube River this summer wearing them, so they must be pretty durable. They're not cheap at €149 ($205). I'll let you know if I order a pair - or if anyone reading this has tried them out, get in touch with your experiences.

Have you seen any other eco-sports products lately?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Women's sport in Iraq

This is something a little different for your Friday film - women's sports in Iraq. Yes, somehow in spite of almost constant war since the 1990s, there are Olympic athletes in training for London.
This TransWorld report looks at Rand Saad, archer; Rasha Rfa'at Ali, manager of the cycling team; Tamara Abdul-Razaq and Dhuha Abdul-Jabar, cyclists; and Paralympian table tennis player Suher Abdoul al Ameer. They all make the point that playing sport during on-going conflict is not just a problem for women but that there are extra obstacles which they are determined to overcome.

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Action sports magazines

Easkey Britton for Red Bulletin 2010
It cracks me up that Red Bull sponsor so many extreme or action sports events. Strikes me the last thing you need as you pump your heart full of adrenaline is a few shots of that stuff swirling around in the mix.  A lot of the Thai fighters knock back a bottle just before they get in the ring - but stand back 'cause anyone feeling the nerves tends to throw it right back up again. 

That said the upside of the contradiction is promotion for sports that wouldn't usually get media-space. Can you get the Red Bulletin Magazine where you live?  I know it goes out in eight countries and the athletes interviewed reflect that range. Fascinating interview with sprinter Oscar Pistorius last month. Not quite sure whether I was inspired or intimidated?!

'Course I don't really need to spell out what my only problem with the mag is do I? I haven't seen a woman on the cover for some time, although they did feature boxer Katie Taylor on the Irish edition about 2 years ago. Oh, except for singer Nicki Minaj last time round. Great action shot of a snowboarder on this month's issue - could have been a woman? No?

Anyhow, let's try not to moan. It's great to see a mag promoting alternative sports and while it is clearly a great big promo, I guess we'll take it over complete radio silence. What do you think?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: wrugby

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strange times on a beach

Walking on the beach last night was a strange experience. Hurricane Katia is blowing somewhere off the north coast of Ireland and even down here in Dublin you could feel something up with the world. The sand was racing away from us as if it was water. At one stage we stood still but my eyes told me we were on an escalator racing across the land out to sea. As someone said if you had a board it looked like you could just hope on, go into the darkness and .... well, so the imaginations got a little carried away but it was that kind of night.
Erika Franco

All of that put me in the mind to search out a surfer for today's blog. The ASP 6-Star Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro women’s event (really, who creates the titles for these events?) is on this week in Spain. Local surfer Erika Franco is competing on a wild card. All of 17 years of age, she's already been surfing for eight years.

She said in an interview that she used to watch the boys on the beach and then "decided to give it a go. Nobody in my family is a surfer, and to begin with they weren't sure how to react. I like the sport because it makes you feel free; it's a very intense feeling." From what I can find online she hasn't won a major competition yet but has placed respectably on the ASP events she's entered in the last three years. It'll be interesting to see how she does at home in comparison with the top women like Sophia Mulanovich (Peru) or world junior champ from France Alizee Arnaud. 

What's the strangest experience you've had on a beach?


Monday, September 12, 2011

What can we learn from elite athletes?

Austrian Corina Kuhnle won a repeat gold medal at the Slalom World Championships, beating out the same woman as last year too - Jana Dukatova from Slovakia. I wonder how often that happens. * Whatever about the pairing, wining two years running in this sport makes Kuhnle only the second woman ever to do so since Czech canoeist Ludmilla Polesna pulled it off in the '60s. 

Corinne Kuhnle
Watching top canoeists race through whitewater and navigate gates at speed is a great inspiration for trying just a little harder the next time you're out on the water.What do you get out of watching elite athletes in your favourite sports?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Responding to sexist advertising?

When a company uses offensive* advertising material, should you ignore them and quench the fires of publicity or should you draw attention to it so it is stopped?

This discussion started on Twitter a few weeks back thanks to @womenmediacentre and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. It's popped up again in Ireland because of a series of adverts for .... a food product .... using women playing Gaelic football as the stars. I really don't want to link to the pictures so let me paint one for you - low-cut tops which wouldn't look out of place on a dance-floor, shorts which could pass for undies on a lingerie show, poses angling the models' best assets and enough make-up and hair-spray to fit out a team of beauty contestants.

The advertising complaints board here already banned this company from using a very similar series of adverts last year featuring rugby players and using almost all of the models in this year's shoot. I'm not sure of the legalities but this is definitely what you call sticking to the letter of the law and hanging the spirit out to dry.

So what to do - be all post-feminist about it and ignore them? stop buying the product? kick up a fuss?

*to me and many other people involved in sport

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Julie Kitchen MuayThai


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

*Thanks to Chad Hill for these great shots of Julie Kitchen 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Women in the MuayThai Premier League

You very rarely get to see a group of MuayThai fighters at world-class level competing on one show. It's usually one or two headline fights and then local fighters. So the MuayThai Premier League, which started this week, is a special event. Top-ranked fighters travel to ten countries over the next few months, building up points for an overall title. 

The opening event "Stars and Stripes" was in California, US. British fighter Julie Kitchen took on  Martina Jindrova from the Czech Republic, winning on points.  Also in this group are Sandra Bastian from Canada and Tainara Lisboa from Brazil.

Julie Kitchen (kick) vs Martina Jindrova

Peru-based Valentina Shevchenko won against Angelique Pitiot from France on points also. I remember watching Shevchenko in the amateurs a few years back, not at all surprised she is doing so well now. The other fighters in this group are Chantal Ughi (Italy) and Ilona Wjimans (Netherlands).

Valentina Shevchenko vs Angelique Pitiot
 If you're living anywhere near the next shows, well worth heading along. Full details here.

 *There are more photos on FB , but I'm a bit disappointed with them - guys, get someone who knows how to capture a kick for the next show! 

*There were men's fights too, details here.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why do we love running?

Making the choice for today's post was a little tough, been a busy weekend. But I went with the World Track and Field Championships in South Korea because ... well, because sometimes it's good to roll out the patriotism and Ireland was in there plugging away for the Olympics.

Derval O' Rourke qualified for the semi-finals of the 100m but then had to withdraw because of a calf injury. As someone who went through a string of left-then-right-then-left calf problems, lots of empathy for how frustrating it must have been to get so so close and then have to bail. We rely on our bodies so much in sport, it's difficult to accept when things just don't go right. And you just have to let it go and start again the next day or week or month or whenever that muscle decides to spring back into action.

But on a happier note, high jumper Deirdre Ryan set an Irish record at 1.95 and qualified for the A-standard Olympics.

And the 4x400m relay team placed 12th overall which the Athletics Ireland site says sets them up well for the Olympics: Marian Heffernan, Claire Bergin, Michelle Carey and Joanne Cuddihy (she was very unlucky earlier having made it to the semi-final of the individual race only to be disqualified for a false start, the pain).

I don't know how athletics is viewed where you are, but in Ireland it's one of those sports we love when the big races are on and then it fades off the radar until the next meet. And Hands up, I'm just as guilty of this as the next person. Running is fascinating really, all about freedom and power but so hemmed in by the rules we need to make sport function as a competition. Interesting. 

I know from reading your blogs that quite a few of you run seriously - what's the attraction to the formal competition side of things? 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winter Breaks with Cornish surfers

Ok, I know it's summer up here in the North but with temperatures like 12 degrees, it feels more like this mini-film looks.
Nicola Bunt and Dom Kent feature in this short on the madness of getting in the water when it's freezing outside.
Have a great weekend!  (especially people in Ireland heading to The Picnic)


The other side of sport

As we lace-up our expensive running shoes and pull on the latest wick-sweat-away gear, maybe we should spare a thought for where it all comes from. I've been posting information from Playfair 2012 and this morning received another disturbing story.

We talk about fair trade and fair working conditions but what does that really mean in the context of a developing country?

This link take you to a post on Malani: My life as a garment worker making Adidas sportswear in Sri Lanka

When you're done reading, there is something very simple you can do to help. Playfair have set up an email system to contact the CEOs of leading sportswear companies targetted by their campaign. All you have to do is click and send. Find that link here at What You Can Do

You never know what your action could lead to ...
Playfair 2012