Thursday, October 31, 2013

'No Apologies' football film still winning awards

Keeping with the Aussie theme for today, the football doco No Apologies picked up two awards at the Southhampton International Film Festival. 

You might remember a few posts on here about No Apologies - a doco following two Australian Aboriginal girls to the 2011 FIFA World Cup. 

They won for Best Editing and Best Documentary - to their shock as their latest blog-post shows! "Having won one award we definitely did not expect to receive the accolade of Best Documentary and were stunned when once again “No Apologies” name was read out. Ashley tried to convince Quie-ying to accept the award but she pushed him forward again. It is rare that you will find him lost for words, but he was close to it on this occasion," the team wrote up. 

You can still buy the DVD here, and this is a short taster from the original crowdfunder promo.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

(Almost Wordless this week!) 

Watch carefully for one of the best goals you're likely to see this year - Stephanie Roche from Ireland's Peamount United slots it home against Wexford Youth in the Women's National League.

The goal went viral soon after manager Eileen Gleeson uploaded this short clip at the weekend. You can read Roche's reaction to her fame here on


Monday, October 14, 2013

Should governments spend more on sport?

BMX Ireland
Katie O' Neill on her BMX PIC Stephen Kane
It's Budget Day in Ireland tomorrow - a good time to look at how little of our hefty tax-bill supports public sports - a stark contrast to the bulging health budget. Prevention rather than cure is definitely not the slogan of the day.

Website 'Public Policy ie' allows tax-payers to see where their tax goes. As a sports-fan it was very disheartening to see the tiny % going to Sports and Recreation Payments. 
  • A salary of €20,000 means €2,218.80 in tax with €2.64 going to sports
  • A salary of €40,000 means €9,930 in tax with €11.82 going to sports 
  • A salary of €60,00 means €20,330 in tax with €24.19 going to sports
  • A salary of €80,000 means €30,770 in tax with €36.57 going to sports
  • A salary of €100,000 means €41,130 in tax with €48.95 going to sports

Compare this to the thousands taken from those salaries to service our mammoth National Debt.(or maybe don't if you value your blood pressure) But it's also thousands/per person less than the money being poured into our health system.

Obviously speaking from a biased perspective here, but surely more investment in sports ultimately results in decreased demand on some health services?

I only moved back to Ireland a few years ago, and am still baffled at the huge growth in costly private gyms vs the low investment in public facilities.

There's a lot of talk about an obesity epidemic, taxing sugar, taxing salt and so on - but what about a bit of preventative medicine? 

This report prepared in 2010 found: 'there is a very significant net overall return on government investment in sport in Ireland'. It lists health benefits from reducing the risk of heart attacks to helping treat depression. And a myriad of other physical or mental benefits in-between. 

The authors also look at the economic impact of a fit population vs not-so-fit - including the scary statistic that almost one in five Irish people exercises for less than 20 minutes each week.

Although to be fair, this line made me laugh: 'Similarly, extremely high levels of participation in sport can cause health problems as well'  Ahem, guilty as charged! 

It's a not a clear link between more sport and health of course, but there is surely enough evidence to pull more spending into this area.

What do you think? 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Because I am a Girl .... Sierra Leone

This is just one of the stunning photographs taken for the charity Plan Ireland as part of their celebration of the UN Intentional Day of the Girl.

Animata is standing in Masiaka, Koya, central Sierra Leone in West Africa. She and a number of other Sierra Leonan girls had their photographs taken for this series, and then matched with photos of Irish girls of a similar age. 

If you're Dublin, they are on display at the Powerscourt Townhouse until October 21st. If you're not, all of the photos are on the Plan Ireland Facebook page here. Details from the launch here on

I've just come back from a work-trip to Sierra Leone, and yes it is that beautiful. And yes, it is that much in need of more aid and less local corruption so girls like Animata have a chance.

PIC: Plan Ireland's Her Story project in Sierra Leone and Ireland


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Surfing to success at TEDx Dublin with Easkey Britton

Irish surfer Easkey Britton gave an impassioned talk at the TEDx Dublin a few days ago, been reading it on Twitter and delighted it's online now.

Her love for surfing has taken her to the giant waves of Tahiti but also to teach the freedom of sport to girls in Iran. In the talk she says our fear of failure can dampen creativity but by taking chances in the waves we can learn how to let go.

"We learn by doing, we learn by failing. Surfing teaches us to keep calm ... we have to learn to relax," she said.

It's Wednesday, hump day for lots of people but this will give you some motivation as you face into the rest of the week.


Monday, October 7, 2013

MuayThai Angels, the debate goes on ...

A few more thoughts on World MuayThai Angels ... 

Sylive von Duuglas Ittu, who you may remember from this interview on my blog, watched the fights from her gym in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. 

She blogged about it here on 8LimbsUs and raises some good points around advertising. Traditionally in Thailand, and elsewhere, advertising during sports events targets a male audience. She noted just two 'female' products, but that's two more than I ever remember seeing over there during televised boxing - even when it was an all-women's bout. 

Well worth reading Von Duuglas Ittu's blog if you have any interest in women and combat sports. She's doing MuayThai but many points regarding relating to your trainers, reaction to your changing skills and hopes for the future - all relevant to any combatants. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

MuayThai Angels - a step forwards or backwards?

World MuayThai Angels - a televised series of Thai Boxing fights which began this week in Bangkok, Thailand - caused quite the controversy when it was first announced but seems to be winning people over. 

It's a variation on the reality TV show-theme with women fighting it out for a prize. This wasn't terribly well explained in the beginning, leaving many fighters miffed they'd been left out of a new tournament.  

All of the women pictured above are fighters, with varying numbers of fights behind them. There were some rumblings about their looks, and a sense they were chosen for looks over fight ability. And, you know, there may be an element of truth in this as it is a TV show first and tournament second. 

Sue Latta, head of the IFMA Female MuayThai Commission had this to say about it all: 

"What most people forget is that this is a TV show not an International Championship regarding titles or world championships. It is a prize purse not a World Title that is achievable for the successful contestant. What is achieved is an increase in awareness and popularity in our sport. 

"The public will get to see what hard work and determination goes into a fight: psychologically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This opportunity to showcase our skills and talents is great for our sport as the public will begin to view us as serious athletes, real fighters, not just females "doing their best". " This taken from the IFMA facebook page. *

PIC  -
I was intrigued then to be sent this comment posted by Joe Cummings (renowned Lonely Planet Thailand writer) on his page - after he attended the opening show: 

"I was sceptical going in but I think it's a novel approach that works. It's reaching an audience that had a hard time accepting female muaythai fighters, including a lot of women, who are being pulled in by the beauty side of it and then are held by the athleticism. I was one of very few farang in the audience, even though the fighters came from 15 countries, and judging from today's turnout, a majority of the audience were women."

Getting people to watch women fighting is always tough, there is still an element of the sideshow about it all for many viewers. 'Farang' is Thai for foreigner, so as there were a lot of Thais there that's a good sign. Definitely curious to see how these shows develop ... 

What do you think? 

(* I worked with IFMA for 6 years in Bangkok)