#11) 20-26 August 2018

Picture credit: Nick Hope (@NickHopeTV)

Long evenings, sun, holidays, sea and stunning views – summer really is the best time of year.

It’s also fantastic for being a period with copious amounts of sport to consume.

Already this summer fans have been treated to World Cups and European Championships amongst many others.

But arguably the most important period for fans of women’s sport has been the past week.

Despite the high profile returns of the F1 season and Premier League, there has also been a highly pleasing number of headlines surrounding what GB’s female athletes have been up to, once again highlighting that public perception of women’s sport is changing for the better.

Of course success helps elicit this change in attitude and there has certainly been plenty over the last few days, including a stunning World Championship silver medal for the GB women’s wheelchair basketball team.

The 52 was lucky to be given the chance to speak to star player Amy Conroy a few weeks ago and she firmly believed the team would go far in the competition.

She could not have been more right as they reached their first ever World Championship final having shown incredible grit, determination and passion to fight their way through a tough group.

Wins over Spain and Germany in the quarters and semis respectively followed and, while they couldn’t quite beat the Dutch to win gold, a whole host of new role models – such as Conroy, Sophie Carrigill and Helen Freeman – have been born for us to follow to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Another up-and-coming star who shot to the forefront of the media’s attention this week was 17-year-old Kare Adenegan as she stunned everyone by beating the previously invincible Hannah Cockroft at the Para-athletics European Championships.

For so long Cockroft has been in a league of her own but Adenegan first showed signs of promise at last year’s World Championships, picking up three medals behind her team-mate.

Her performance in the 100m earlier this week though was something else as she left Cockroft trailing in her wake – something few of us ever thought we would see – on her way to a first major title.

Hurricane Hannah hit back in style to claim the gold in the 800m a few days later to show that she is far from done and prove that there is going to be one hell of a battle between these two for the foreseeable future.

There was plenty of success for other para-athletes too, with Sophie Hahn showing her mental strength by claiming a sprint double to put behind a tumultuous few months in which she has had some nasty claims about her classification thrown her way.

Medals have also been flowing for Great Britain’s women at the Para-canoe World Championships as Emma Wiggs proved she still has the hunger and ability to fight at the very top by claiming a seventh title in the VL2 200m.

That came two days after she was pipped to the top podium spot in the KL2 200m by team-mate Charlotte Henshaw as the 31-year-old claimed her first ever world title in the sport.

What makes Henshaw’s achievements particularly special though is that she only took up canoeing in 2017, having been a two-time Paralympic medal-winning swimmer previously.

It takes a special kind of person to be able to compete for their country and win medals in one sport, let alone two.

Very few people have ever been able to do this – with Rebecca Romero and Dame Sarah Storey in that very elite club – so the fact that Henshaw is winning medals after just a year in the sport is an amazing achievement and it will be really interesting to see just how good she can get.

The medals didn’t stop there this week either as triathlete Vicky Holland claimed an impressive win at the ITU World Triathlon race in Montreal to close the gap on current World Triathlon Series leader Katie Zaferes.

It was the Rio bronze medallist’s third win of the season as she battles to win her first ever world title next month and with Georgia Taylor-Brown, Jess Learmonth and Jodie Stimpson currently third, fourth and sixth in the standings respectively the future of British women’s triathlon is certainly bright.

There was success of a different kind in the football world this week too as Manchester United’s women played out their first home game in more than 13 years in front of a record crowd.

While they may have lost 2-0 to Reading, the fact that they broke the Continental Cup attendance record – with 4,835 showing up to watch them at Leigh Sports Village – shows that support for Casey Stoney’s team is already very high and hopefully this will continue for a long time.

Add in to the mix that this year’s Kia Super League finals day is set to take place on Bank Holiday Monday – a date usually eserved for the men’s T20 event – and this week has proved that not only are our female athletes brilliant, the public really do care about them.

One Comment on “#11) 20-26 August 2018

  1. Pingback: #48) GB’s Para-canoeists, Para-triathletes, Para-cycling & Wheelchair Tennis Stars – The 52 Blog

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