Written by Jen Offord

Health

These girls are

Spring is a bona fide feast when it comes to women’s sport. Our Jen Offord tells us what’s happening, where and when.

Nicola Adams (left) fights Ren Cancan in 2012. Photo by Kent Capture, via Wikimedia Commons.

The irony of my last sporty musing was not lost on me. And by ‘irony’, I mean ‘hypocrisy’, really. There I was, pointing out how reporting around women’s sport is all too often issue-based rather than about the sport itself, and I was, er, not reporting on sport itself.

It’s not all doom and gloom in women’s sport and we’re seeing more and more events being broadcast – albeit nowhere near as many as we should have. So this week, in something of a departure from normal business, I’m talking about real-life sport and the treats in store for you during spring.

First up, we have some posh folks from Oxford and Cambridge paddling their way down the Thames. That’s right, the Boat Race will take place this very weekend on 2 April with the women’s event televised alongside the men’s for the third year running. Coverage starts on the BBC at 4pm for a 4.35pm start for the women’s team.

The sublime Nicola Adams makes her debut as a professional boxer on 8 April, having already completed a career grand-slam of boxing titles at amateur level, becoming only the second British boxer to successfully defend an Olympic title. The bout – adversary not yet known – in Manchester will be televised on BT Sport.

In swimming, the British Championships (18-23 April) and the British Para International Meet (27-30 April) take place in Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

“Great Britain seems to be having something of a renaissance in women’s athletics at the minute, with Laura Muir, Dina Asher-Smith, Asha Philip and Katarina Johnson-Thompson all doing good things and perhaps even on the verge of great things.”

Remember how we all whooped, hollered and swore never to watch football again as Team GB’s women’s hockey heroes battled and overcame mild concussion to take the gold medal in Rio last summer? The Investec Women’s Hockey League finals take place at the Olympic Park between 22 and 30 April.

One of my own personal favourites, you can watch the London Marathon on 23 April on the telly on the BBC or in person, and see the world’s elite runners of the not-insignificant distance of 26.2 miles, as well as people with canoes strapped around their waists or dressed as a giant boob etc, raising a bob or two for charity.

Football has kicked off already this season with Manchester City Women – unlike their male counterparts – potentially still in contention for Champions League semi-finals, depending on the result of their quarter final match against Fortuna Hjorring on 30 March. The FA Women’s Super League begins on 23 April and the SSE Women’s FA Cup final is at Wembley on 13 May for the third year running and it costs just £15 for an adult ticket. I shit you not.

If you liked all that kicking people in the head that went on in the Olympics last year (and I really did; more than I was expecting, in fact) the Taekwondo European Championships take place this year in Liverpool between 24-30 April.

In cycling, the UCI women’s world tour is well underway in and you can catch the Tour de Yorkshire kicking off in Tadcaster and finishing in Harrogate on 29 April. Yorkshire’s very own Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead) was announced as a competitor in the event earlier this month.

Oxford Women’s VIII approaching the finish in 2015’s Boat Race. Photo by Pointillist, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

You can also look forward to the Women’s Tour taking place between 7-11 June with stages around the country and highlights set to be broadcast on ITV 4. And while we’re on the subject of cycling, the downhill mountain biking World Cup series takes place over 3-4 June in Fort William, with GB’s Rachel Atherton taking gold at last year’s competition.

Great Britain seems to be having something of a renaissance in women’s athletics at the minute, with promising talent in the form of Laura Muir, Dina Asher-Smith (though Asher-Smith recently broke her foot and may not be back on the track in a little while), Asha Philip and Katarina Johnson-Thompson all doing good things and perhaps even on the verge of great things. The Diamond League series begins again on 5 May in Doha, and runs throughout the summer.

Finally we have the second tennis grand slam of the year, the French Open, which begins on 29 May. All eyes will be on GB’s Jo Konta until she goes out in the quarter-finals and Heather Watson for decidedly less time. But there will be a lot more to watch, too: can Serena Williams take her 24th grand slam title? Will Maria Sharapova be able to enter courtesy of a wild card? It will all unfold before your very eyes on ITV 1 and 2, this year.

You can find EVEN MORE sporty shiz to enjoy online at the Mixed Zone run by the Women’s Sports Trust.

@inspireajen

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Written by Jen Offord

Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen