Saturday, December 27, 2014

Together from Cedar Crest's basketball team

American college Cedar Crest sent me this 'get up and play' video this week - their women's basketball doing a version of the Nike 'Together - Lebron James clip. 

Remember chocolate and cake is great but you'll feel better after some fresh air. 

Thanks Josh Tehonica for sending this to me. Great motto too for the college - Bold Education, Bold Women Bold Futures. 


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!
Santa Dash in Galway via FLICKR

Thank you all so much for reading and supporting my efforts to promote women in sport this year! 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, or a Happy Holiday if you are not that way inclined.

Here's to a few days of eating and relaxing with the people we love - and back to the sports grindstone with even more energy in January. Best way to beat the winter blues is to get out there and make endorphins ... but you know that already, don't you?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Awakening MuayThai Awards 2014

This is the time of year for voting in as many polls as you have time to fit in. Awakening is a great supporter of women's fighting and this is a good chance to see who they rate. 

You can vote on Best Fighter, Best Newcomner, Best Photographer and on a wider scale Best Promoter and a few other areas of our sport that we don't always remember to appreciate. It's a fairly international field so you should know at least a handful of people from each section.

I did my bit this morning. You can vote here in the MuayThai Awards 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

FIghters in the ring, friends after

PIC via FB

This is what it looks like when fighters hang out after kicking each other about the ring for a few rounds. On the left is Israeli fighter Adi Rotem who beat Ferial 'Felix' Ameeroeiden in Dublin at the latest Enfusion bouts. 

As always it was a pleasure to see two skilled and talented women fighters kicking ass - and stunning some of the crowd. There's always someone who has never seen female fighters before, and sits there with that 'yeah, whatever' face soon to be changed.  

Lots of great photos by David Fogarty on Rotem's FB page from that night. 

And here's the two of them in a line-up from Enfusion Thailand last September - fighters from around the world were invited for a knock-out contest. Click on the picture for more images.

Ameeroeiden leans aginst the tree, Rotem is 2nd from right


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Breakaway from Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke

Nicole Cooke wins Gold at Beijing PIC AP via The Telegraph
Do you know Nicole Cooke? You should if you have or want to have an interest in women’s sport, but especially if you’re interested in clean sport.

The Welsh cyclist retired last year with a screamer of a retirement statement laying bare the hypocrisy of doping and blatant discrimination against female riders. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the sports fan in your life, a copy of “The Breakaway” will ignite a few fireside chats.

So who is Cooke? Starting in 1994 with British Youth titles, and peaking with Gold at the Beijing Olympics, she claimed numerous World Championships and World Cup first places, UCI No 1 ranking, race and stage wins in the Giro and other races along the way.

Impressed yet? In her own words most of this was achieved in spite of rather than because of support from the official world of British cycling. And as a clean rider, the race was often lost before the starter’s pistol.

She wrote about her first setbacks on the international scene: “It didn’t really matter how many times I beat the WCPP (World Class Performance Programme) riders. They were on the WCPP, coached by the WCPP coaches and managed by the WCPP management. I was a schoolgirl. If they sent me to Sydney (Olympics), they would be telling the rest of the world they were wasting the Lottery-playing public’s money. They were wasting it, but did not want to admit it.”

This post on teases out the backroom intrigue of her Beijing medal. However Cooke raises a key question – why is the well-funded Team SKY an all-male outfit? 

BSkyB came on board after Beijing but simply ignored the female riders, and it seems this was accepted by the cycling authorities.

Cooke writes: “I didn’t need a crystal ball to predict that, by the time of writing six years later, while millions have been poured into a system to convert the male non-finishers at Beijing and Varese into world beaters, virtually nothing has come the way of the female road riders whether it was Emma, Lizzie, Sharon or me.”
PIC via MailOnline

Alongside comes the steady beat of injuries, and sadly of court battles to get paid. Also the devastating impact of doping.

Canadian Geneviève Jeanson was a great rival but in 2007 admitted using EPO since she was 16. Male riders like Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis smashed the sport’s reputation.

Cooke writes: “As Floyd grabbed the headlines … Thomas (team manager) was rightly livid as his sponsors for 2007 walked away. It is very difficult to think about the consequences.”

And later: “It is these unknown riders who are the victims” remembering clean riders disillusioned and quitting. 
The technicalities of cycling are sometimes difficult to grasp for the layman reader, but you’re cheering for her to win with every turn of the page.

Graeme “The Flying Scotsman” Obree wrote in a powerful foreword: “Nicole was a trailblazer who forged a path that was clearly defined for the male riders but equally she struggled to get women’s cycling treated seriously in the UK, and there were many barriers placed in her way.”

A competitor to the last Cooke ends graciously: “I couldn’t have had the career, the fun and the ups and downs without any of you. Sometimes I won, more often I lost. There is nothing I loved more than a rival who would not give me an inch.”

It’s a shame for women’s cycling and sport that more often than not her biggest rivals were not clearly visible.

You can order “The Breakaway” through Cooke’s website and follow Cooke on Twitter.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Speed Sisters in Palestine

Speed Sisters

When you see Tanya Habjouqa's photographs of cars drifting in the West Bank it takes a moment to realise the drivers are women. When I did, I flicked quickly back to the start to really understand what I was seeing.

Speed Sisters ( postcard above from the promotional material) is a short film by Amber Fares created around those women. The promo reads: "The Speed Sisters are the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East. They’re bold. They’re fearless. And they’re tearing up tracks all over Palestine."

Premiering at the Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha this week, you can find out more at: Speed