Monday, September 30, 2013

AIBA World Junior and Youth Championships - Ireland takes gold

Ciara Ginty 60kg Gold

Sixteen year old Ciara Ginty from Mayo won gold at the AIBA Women's Junior + Youth World Boxing Championships 2013 over the weekend - a huge achievement for Irish boxing. She was also picked as Best Junior Boxer out of 160 boxers from 31 countries

I was just listening to Ginty being interviewed on radio from Bulgaria - she sounded quite shell-shocked still even two days later. And of course the comparisons with Katie Taylor have already started, helped by them being in the same weight category at 60kgs. 

Ginty said: "It's been absoloutely fantastic, great experience boxing at such a high level. It's been a really tough competition and it's been really great to be part of an Irish squad ... I was really nervous but I couldn't let that ruin my chances.' 

The presenter asked her if it has all sunk in yet. She replied: "That took a while to sink in (being the first world champ in boxing after Taylor), it eventually did."  So no pressure there, then!

Her teammate Christina Desmond took silver at 69kgs, and Jacqui Lynch took bronze in the 48kgs division leaving and Ireland finished a very credible 7th overall, more results here.

If you're wondering what the difference is between Youth and Junior: 

The AIBA Women’s Junior World Championships are staged over 13 weight categories: 44-46kg, 48kg, 50kg, 52kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 63kg, 66kg, 70kg, 75kg, 80kg and 80+kg. Bouts are held over three rounds of two minutes with a one-minute rest between rounds. Boxers born between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1998 can register.

The AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships are staged over 10 weight categories: 45-48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg and 81+kg. Bouts are held over four rounds of two minutes with a one-minute rest between rounds. Boxers born between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 1996 can register.

Full results here on the IABA website. And lots more photos on this Twitter account taken by Liam Morley Bereton - definitely an Irish fan!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blog holiday - hitting the road

Pic from Evan's Blog

Hey everyone, 

This blog is taking a holiday. 

I'm going away for work for about two weeks to Sierra Leone in West Africa, and won't have time to update. 

Hopefully will bring back some great sports stories along the way, you never know who you met when you hit the road. 

Stay healthy! 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Economist looks at the finances behind women's sports

The Economist ran an intriguing article in their last issue headlined 'Game, Sex, Match' looking at the growing interest in women's sports. 

Danica Patrick NASCAR Pic AP
The main thrust is what we've been saying on this blog for years - success breeds money breeds success. It's finally happening too as the piece lists people like NASCAR driver Danica Patrick who took $9m in sponsorship last year alone. 

Female American athletes won more medals at London2012 than the male competitors according to the piece, will be interesting to see if that affects the division of funding for Rio2016? 

And here's something you might not know: "Women’s football is the fourth-largest team sport in England, measured by participation (after men’s football, rugby and cricket)." 

Unfortunately the reality behind these stand-outs is less money, less sponsorship and startlingly less media coverage than for male sports. To be fair the piece cites ESPN and SKY on their much improved coverage but overall in American women's sports gets just :"1.62% of sporting airtime on big networks" 

However the analysis is positive for the future, with another curious nugget being the growth of male fans for women's sports. That's really exciting as far more men watch sport anyhow than women, so to get them shifting their attention over is important. And to be honest, most female athletes don't care if there is a sexual element to that or not - bums on seats is what counts IMHO.

Thanks to Amber Schlaefer for drawing my attention to this piece. You can read the full article here at Women in Sport Game Sex Match on The Economist website.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fighting the Dream - Sylvie von Duuglas Ittu in Thailand

American boxer Sylvie von Duuglas Ittu has been living and training in Thailand for over a year now at Lanna Gym in Chiang Mai.

In this great short film, she discusses her fighting aims. She's gone from being happy to have a fight at all to wanting ten, and then 50. 

Now? She says: "I thought if I can accomplish 50 fights, that's great, that's it. Now that I'm at 40 and ten away from what that goal was ....once you reach 50 then onto 51...."

Fighters training in the West will enjoy (or be horrified by) this look behind the scenes at a MuayThai fight night in Northern Thailand. Fighters sit on the ground to have their hands wrapped in the shadows, barely lit by street-lights. 

And Von Duuglas Ittu also discusses violence, and the difference between simple street brutality and the beauty of a boxing ring.

All in all, well worth the 5-mins running time. 

Produced by Rosie Brown and Ed Kiernan from Bangkok-based Yankee Brown Productions.