Super Falcons and Women’s Football in Nigeria

The Nigerian Super Falcons have had a mixed Women’s World Cup so far. They came into the tournament after dominating the African Women’s Championship, winning every match that they played. The Women’s World Cup has been a different story as they are as yet unable to secure a win. Although their first game against Sweden was a thriller, it ended in a 3-3 tie. In their second game, the Super Falcons could not hold off a buoyant Australian outfit, going down to the Matildas 2-0.

The Super Falcons are a strong team, and their final group match against the USA on Wednesday will be a huge game. According to Nigerian Coach Edwin Okon, “we must get back to the form we had against Sweden.” If they do, they are in with a chance against the formidable USA.

Women’s football in Nigeria has had a chequered history. Like in the rest of the world, including Australia, the role of women in sport generally and football more specifically has been debated, and at times the appropriateness of football for women players soundly rejected. Continue reading

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Smashing it – women’s tennis in the 1960s

The remaining Australian players, both men and women, were bundled out of the 2015 French Open in the third round last week. Stosur started well against Sharapova but could not take a set, and Kyrgios and Kokkinakis lost to champions Murray and Djokovic respectively.

It has been some time since Australian finals success at Roland Garros and the most recent have all been in doubles (the Woodies taking out the men’s doubles in 2000 and Alicia Molik teaming up with Italian Mara Santagelo in 2007 in the women’s). However, there was a period in the 1960s and 70s when the Australians experienced a golden age at the tournament. Continue reading

Netball in Australia – a brief history

When I was about eleven years old, I was very excited to start playing “competitive” basketball in a local competition after school. When I relayed this to my grandmother, I was surprised but pleased to hear that she too had played basketball in her youth. However, when we stepped outside to share a game, it quickly became clear that we were talking about different sports. When she saw the backboard behind the ring, and me dribbling the ball, she was a bit confused. When I tried to steal the ball from her, things became obvious. It turned out that my grandmother’s so-called basketball was, in reality, netball.

The history behind the fact that, in Australia, netball was called “women’s basketball” up until the 1970s, begins in the United States back in the late nineteenth century. Continue reading

Fast Facts – National Sports Teams

You might just be getting to know a little bit more about women’s sport, or you might be a mad keen sports fan already. But how many national (women’s) sporting teams can you name? Do you know who the captain of Australia is in the cricket? Basketball? Rugby League? Over the coming weeks this blog will be profiling some of our national sporting competitions. However, to start with, let’s get to know some of our stars in the international arena. These are our elite sportswomen and their names, and their teams, are an excellent place to start if you are interested in learning more about women in sport.

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Frocks, skirts and ‘rational’ pants – the evolution of cricket uniforms

There is a story in cricket folklore that suggests overarm bowling was invented by a British woman. Christina Willes, so the story goes, played backyard cricket with her brother, John, but got fed up with the way in which her bulky skirts caused her trouble when bowling underarm. Instead, she bowled roundarm to reduce the interference and, lo and behold, overarm bowling was born. Whilst I would love for this story to be true, unfortunately I can find no real evidence to support it. However, it is a very good illustration of how expectation around women’s dress has affected the ways in which we play sports. Using cricket as the example, we will see that women have been forced to wear particularly ‘feminine’ uniforms until very recently. Continue reading

Not just cricket – other World Cups to watch in 2015

For many sports there is no greater test, or pinnacle of success, than at the World Cup. These events are special; they only come around once every four years and give the opportunity to compete against the best in the world. Winning a World Cup is every elite athlete’s dream, and one that is shared by an adoring Australian public. With all the spectacle around the men’s cricket at the moment, let’s not forget that there is still plenty more World Cup action to come in 2015. Continue reading

The Girl Bradman – Betty Wilson inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame

Betty Wilson was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame last month. Whilst she was well known across Australia as the ‘girl Bradman’ during the 1940s and 1950s, you may never have heard of her. Even when I was a youngster playing in what was then the Under 19 Betty Wilson Shield, I have to admit to not knowing anything of the achievements of the eponymous cricketer herself. It is shameful to confess now, because her story is truly remarkable.

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