Women in sport celebrate success

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Australia's sportswomen have in recent years stepped up the fight for greater acceptance, and a fairer slice of the revenue pie.

And with next year's Rio Olympics approaching fast, it's timely to remind sports fans that at the last Games in London, Australian women were in the minority on the team but won the majority of the medals.

The 5th staging of the "I support women in sport awards" (27 Oct) celebrated the successes of the leading lights of women's sport in Australia.

It's grown from modest beginnings to become a fixture on the sporting calandar in just five years.

And for Australia's Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson, who broke her wrist last season, the "I support women in sport" awards night is one to savour and inspire.

 

"I'm so excited! It's always nice to come to this event and mingle with Australia's finest female athletes and we don't get to do that very often, it's always a lot of men around so it's really nice to bring it back to being a bit more girly and really enjoying ourselves and respecting one another as female athletes."

 

Respect is something that female athletes have felt is in short supply in recent years - along with the dollars.

But the tide appears to be turning.

Meet Caroline Buchanan, the BMX rider who was expected to medal at the London Games but had to settle for a fifth-placed finish.

But a recent social media message made her sit up and take notice.

 

"A little pop-up message that came onto Facebook about 3 weeks ago and it took me by surprise and it said, 'The UCI BMX Supercross, which is a world cup series is now going to have equal prize money for the whole next entire season with men and women,' and ... " [applause]

 

Former swimmer Suzie O'Neill was honoured at the awards ceremony in Sydney, becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The woman that won eight medals for Australia over three Olympics also feels the media landscape may be changing for the better:

 

"The Grand final of the netball this year was one of the best sporting events I've seen. The same with the Aus v NZ netball as well as all the Soccer on TV. Equally I like watching men's sport as well but I think its becoming a lot more even in what I myself like to watch so I'm sure that's the same for other people in the country."

 

Lydia Lassila won gold for Australia at the winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Now she's got a young family as well as a new business interest as a guest speaker and she admits her days are busy.

 

"Trying to be a parent, a good parent, be an elite athlete, run a business, be a mum and a wife, there's not a lot of time I suppose left in the day so it's a real juggling act. I'm enjoying it taking it day by day, bite-sized pieces, doing what I can and enoying family life at the moment."

 

Juggling those various demands would be a handful for the most energetic of people which is why celebrating the achievements of women in sport is so important.

Melissa Barbieri played in the football world cup for the Matildas and she feels the message an awards night sends out to the younger generation is hugely important.

 

"This is about really showing those young girls out there that we've got our own night, that we can be celebrated, that we can go out there and we can really really push the limits of our body, and that we can be tough."

 

Hanging tough is part and parcel of the female sporting landscape at present, especially for the Matildas who are currently without a long-term pay deal.

But if they have their way, this country's female sporting stars will enjoy success both on and off the field.

 

 

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