WHEN looking back at the development of women’s sport in Britain, 2015 will be a stand-out year. From media campaigns to success on the sporting arena, many female sporting athletes have become role models to young girls across the country. The launch of This Girl Can in January, a campaign portraying women exercising in a realistic light, encouraged many to participate in sporting activities across the country and set up 2015 perfectly for an excellent year in women’s sport.
A personal highlight was England women’s football team winning bronze in the World Cup this summer. Many people in the UK were not aware of the tournament when it started, but as England progressed further and further into the tournament, the players started to capture hearts and support soared. After a heart-breaking exit to Japan after Laura Basset’s last minute own goal, the Three Lions went on to defeat adversaries Germany to return to England with a bronze medal round their necks. The support didn’t stop there though, with FAWSL attendance figures soaring and women’s football in general receiving wider coverage in the following months.
2015 was also a great year for England’s hockey team with a victory in the EuroHockey Championships, in what was a thrilling final against the Netherlands. 2-0 down with 8 minutes to go, England managed to pull it back to 2-2 to earn a shoot-out. They then won this 3-1, producing triumphant celebrations. This again has created publicity for a women’s sport hardly covered or televised.
Aside from team achievements, many female sporting individuals have shone this year. It seems like heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill is always in the headlines for her many achievements, but 2015 saw her return to the world stage after 18 months out due to her having a baby in July 2014. However there was no sign of her extended absence as she comfortably won gold in the heptathlon at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. She has been recognised for her inspiring success through a nomination for Sports Personality of the Year 2015.
Also on the list is Leeds cyclist Lizzie Armitstead. 2015 saw her become the World Road Race Champion, beating her Dutch opponent by just a wheel. She also won the British Road Race Championships for the third time, despite being involved in a crash 11 days before.
Regular British summer sporting event Wimbledon also showed off an exceptional display of women’s sporting ability. In particular, Heather Watson’s match against Serena Williams was spellbinding, with the young Brit winning the second set and then leading the third set 3-0, having reduced Williams to a frustrated figure. However Williams showed her championship credentials, fighting back and winning the match. The match really was a testimony to how exciting and enthralling women’s sport can be.
500 words can’t do justice to what a fantastic year this was for women’s sport. There is an endless list of achievements, with these examples only being a few. Let’s hope that 2016 can see further development and wider coverage for women’s sport.
Featured image: Sport Right Now