Sunday, 3 December 2000

Letter: Taking issue with Girl Power.(Observer Sports Magazine)

Gill Burns and Emma Lindsey

I was pleased to see that your magazine recognises the role of women in sport with your 'Girl Power' section in OSM . I was, however, bitterly disappointed to see that you have ignored the rugby union players totally in your selection. Women's rugby is no longer a minority sport and I am sure the 10,000-plus women who play up and down the country each week will also be amazed that you have not recognised our sport.

Only today there was an article in your newspaper reporting on Kate Hoey's interest and support of our game and yet our international players from all over Britain have been ignored. England finished third at the 1998 World Cup and only last month beat the USA, who were ranked second, to go up one place. England also cruised to a victory in last seasons Five Nations Championships.Perhaps Paula George, our current captain, should have been included in the top 20 women sports stars? How can you ignore a team that is now ranked two in the world? There are only a few of your 20 choices who are ranked higher than the current England squad.

Gill Burns

England captain 1994-1999

Vice president, Womens Sports Foundation

Emma Lindsey - who masterminded the compiling of the list - replies:

Compiling a top 20 of the British sportswomen was always going to be problematic as much because of deciding who to leave out as who to include, especially given that women in sport don't get much of a look in on the back pages. Although there was an element of subjectivity in the decision-making, ultimately editorial concensus was reached on the grounds of achievement on an international stage, relative to the depth and standard of competition within each discipline, with an added proviso to give a shout (where appropriate) to champions in sports which receive no coverage at all.

The Observer (London, England) (Dec 3, 2000): p6

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