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Females in sport

photo credit Naomi Baker.

Sport is still a very male orientated area, male football and rugby players always snatch the biggest headlines which I think is a shame. We have a host of talented sportswomen who deserve more then a small newspaper article as if it was an after thought by the sportwriters.

When I competed at the British Indoor Championships I saw how much the interest in the Men's and Female's races differed. There was much more coverage of the Men's races and also more male competitors. I found this frustrating as the women trained just as hard as the men and put the same amount of passion into their performances too. There are also differences in circumstances between the sexes, women's sporting hobbies sometimes take a back seat in their 30s and 40s if they decide to start a family, men seem to be able to keep their sporting interests going. I know my father kept his rugby playing passion all the way through his children's childhood, there was training throughout the week during the evenings and games on a Saturday. Luckily I found indoor rowing after all the births of my children and now they are older, and with the support of my incredible husband I am able to train intensely throughout the year, during the day and if that's not possible I will make time in the evening to fit the training sessions.

My chosen sport Indoor rowing is extremely male dominated, with most of the online indoor rowing clubs run by men. The teams are mostly male members with only a handful of female members. My indoor rowing team Esprit is one that is ringing the changes though. The team was set-up last year by a great female indoor rower Victoria Ashton-Taylor, she now captains the team. We have many strong rowers in our team and a large number of these are women. They show the same training focus as the men and are reaping the benefits just like the men. They are winning medals/competitions just like their male counterparts, so really we are a balanced team when it comes to the battle of the sexes!

In Team Esprit we support each other throughout the training year, giving advice on performance, training but also showing a great comeraderie which I have never experienced in the other teams I have been members in. The last team I belonged to was a very accomplished indoor rowing team but you were lost in the vast numbers of members they had. Team Esprit is small in numbers but large in terms of passion, competitiveness and loyalty.

Since starting indoor rowing I have found many strong women to aspire to. Many of these women have families and responsibilities in their normal day to day lives, but find the time and have the push and drive to compete or train to improve their fitness which in turn improves their enjoyment of life in general. More importantly, they will in turn become positive female role-models for their daughters and sons who will see their mothers enjoying a passion that they work hard to fulfil through training 6 days a week, and hopefully in time they will aspire to be like them and use the focus they saw in their mothers to aspire to become successful in whatever they choose to do be it sports or other hobbies. Well I hope they do!

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