UK Sport has a strong, proven and ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (letter dated August 2nd). For the first time at the Summer Olympics, Team GB included more female than male athletes. And Britain’s women produced a variety of groundbreaking appearances in Tokyo.
Laura Kenny became Britain’s best decorated Olympian and the first British woman to win gold in three Olympic Games. Hannah Mills is now the most distinguished female sailor in Olympic history, and Emily Campbell was the first British woman to win a weightlifting medal. And who can forget 13-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, Britain’s youngest Olympic medalist?
UK Sport has been sponsoring BMX since 2005. While the Tokyo Cycle began in 2017 there was a time when women’s BMX was not funded, but after an annual review with funding resumed earlier this year, it continued only one year 2018.
For the avoidance of doubt, the gender of the athletes did not affect the decision not to be promoted. The men’s mountain bike was in an identical position during this period and was also reintroduced. Bethany Shriever has been part of British Cycling’s national lottery-funded World Class program since 2019 for this cycle, and we shared the pride and joy of British fans as they, Kye Whyte, Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks fulfilled their dreams in Tokyo .
None of the British Olympians’ groundbreaking moments would have been possible if the culture and processes of UK Sport were tainted with the slightest whiff of misogyny. UK Sport’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion continues as far as Paris and beyond.
CEO, UK Sports
Numerous authors agree with Matthew Engel’s devastating judgment of the hundred (Letters, Aug. 6). In its defense it is a brilliant showcase for women’s football and has brought visibility to a number of excellent female players. I am an activator for All Stars Cricket and I brought my seven year old daughter to Headingley last week. It was a great day, her first live cricket experience; She met players and loved it. We enjoy watching the games as a family. Do I watch the tests anyway? Yes. And I hope my daughter will too, after her love of cricket is enhanced with a fun competition and an easily accessible format.
The ECB is under a lot of pressure, but its efforts to get young people and women interested in cricket should be welcomed. There is room for different types of cricket.
Ann Dear Francis
I accept that longtime cricket lovers query the ECB’s spending on the hundred and find aspects of the spectacle irritating, harrowing, or unnecessary. But my 10-year-old daughter and her three friends would not have been in the oval for the first game had it not been for the free tickets that the ECB is distributing through the local girls’ cricket team; would not have appreciated the limits of the first half without the pyrotechnics; would not have stayed in the second half without the added incentive from Becky Hill; and so they would not have been on the edge of their seats for the last few balls and then danced in the aisles as the Invincibles topped the rows.
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