Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Taylor joins Mary Kom to take five boxing world titles

So once again Katie Taylor has taken a record and made it her own - joining Mary Kom on a select list of boxers with five world titles. Picked off consecutively no less.

Yana Allekseva, Katie Taylor and Yin Junhua PIC Doug McDermott

Watching someone stay compeditive over so a long period of time, taking on the 'young Turks' and winning over and over is inspiring. Even if you have no interest in boxing whatsoever (really, not even a drop?) you have to agree this is a supreme sporting achievement.

Indian fighter Mary Kom did it before her over two weight-divisions. They who know all said that could not be equalled but it speaks to the growing strength of women's fighting that records tumble.

Mary Kom with her bling

" “You are a fifth-time world champion. Only one other person in the history of this sport has achieved that,” said RTÉ’s Hugh Cahill. Pete, her father, was standing by her side.

Her head jerked back, her sinking eyes filled, and Katie Taylor stood there in the Halla Gymnasium in Jeju City, South Korea, mute and overthrown with emotion.

She threw her head back and as the tears welled up; she couldn’t speak. For perhaps 20 seconds we watched on as intruders in her unguarded moment as she made a nonsense of the week-long talk of the cold mechanics of how to win fights."


Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Boxing can be cruel" as Irish team has mixed fortunes in Korea

Irish team at the AIBA world champs PIC via IABA.ie
The AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships continue in Korea this week with some great fights popping up all over the internet. 

It used to be that women's boxing existed in a shadowy corner of said internet. But add the influence of the London Olympics and the reach of social media networks like Twitter together and you get pretty decent coverage. 

In Ireland we're lucky in having Katie Taylor going for her fifth title, and three other great battlers in Michaela Walsh, Joanne Lamb and Claire Grace.

Walsh's Twitter feed has carried her raw feelings out to fans, no filter. 

She started with this: "Weigh in on Sunday for World Championships! Can't come quick enough I hate all this waiting about I just wanna get in and fight!!👊"

Then: "The road to Gold starts for me on Tuesday. I box Jamaica, can't wait to get in and do the job! This is my time🙌🙏 #worldchampion2014"

And: "First fight at the Worlds and I got the win! In control & gave her 2 counts. Good performance, next up Azerbaijan on Thursday.. lets go!!🍀"

Only to sadly finish with this today: "Gutted 2 say I lost on a split decision when I was clearly the more dominate boxer & knocked her down in the last round. Boxing can be cruel"

One of the Irish papers carried an in-depth piece on Taylor at the weekend, read it here online. She pays tribute to Indian boxer Mery Kom - at present the only woman boxer to hold five world titles. 

I was privileged to see both of them fight in London and look forward to see many more young champions coming from these games as we move towards Rio2016.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vote Stephanie Roche for FIFA Goal of the Year

PIC via FAI Twitter

Every year FIFA chooses the best ten goals from the thousands scored around the world in amateur and professional matches. 

This year's final group contains a shaky-cam video of a goal scored by an amateur Irish female player in front of a crowd of ... dozens. Stephanie Roche plays with Peamount United, and she scored this cracker against Wexford Youths in October last year.

Have a look and please vote here on the FIFA page if you like what you see - one giant step for women in sport to see her judged on a par with male players. And even more exciting as this was an amateur match and Roche pulled off a goal to equal players paid millions for their work.

FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: GAA and women

I was up in Croke Park - national stadium for the GAA sports of hurling and football recently. Delighted to spot this on the Christmas poster - a girl dressed up in a Dublin shirt.

Small steps, small steps ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When women in sport met the Web Summit

Dubliner Emily Glen spoke at the Web Summit about women in sport recently. Her Twitter comments on feedback really made me smile. In a grim the-world-is-so-sexist-it-doesn't-even-know kind of smile.

For those you might not know the Web Summit is a rather large gathering of tech-heads in Dublin, and when I say large I mean more than 20,000 attendees over a few days of madness.

The tech-world is generally so far removed from being female-friendly that it's just not funny. One of the companies at this year's event sold bags emblazoned with: 'I don't put my sextapes on the Cloud.' Bit of a nasty reference there to women who are in this company's view stupid enough to trust the security on their Cloud services. (from Colin McGovern's Twitter)

But somehow Glen got in with an impressive speech.

It begins like this:  "My name is Emily Glen.  I am an amateur runner, recently completed my second marathon. I’m a sports fan and general sports enthusiast. I write about sport and social issues on the world’s least influential blog. I also happen to be a woman.

I wouldn’t have been able to introduce myself in this way 50 years ago. For a lot of reasons, chief among them I wouldn’t have been able to allowed to run a marathon 50 years ago. 50 years ago, we as sports fans wouldn’t have been able to cheer on Jess Ennis – Hill in the Olympics, the Irish Women’s rugby team as they took on New Zealand this summer, or Caroline Wozinack as she completed the New York Marathon on Sunday - because 50 years ago women weren’t allowed to compete to these standards."

You can read the rest on her blog  For The Long Run

But what caught my eye was her tweet that so many people were baffled women in sport could be a problem.  People asked her what she was going to talk about?
These are the people who see those headline figures Glen references and think that means everything is OK So it's good to see someone speaking at this type of event and raising those questions.

We talk about that invisibility bug on this blog all the time. And the more it gets talked about in other fourms, the more likely it is that at some point in time being healthy and strong will be seen as normal for girls - just like it is for boys today.