Johnny Cantor: Substantial progress has been made in women's sport over recent years
So much has happened in the last 12 months that it's difficult to compute sometimes. Global affairs, European politics, domestic policy.
This week marks International Women’s Day and there are not many areas where we can see substantial progress more than in women’s sport.
Over recent years the England women’s hockey team has been successful and last week we celebrated the return of our medallists from the Winter Olympics. This week England’s women’s football team continued their progress with good results at the SheBelieves Cup. It is some time ago but when I commentated on England women against Hungary, there was very little media interest. The Six Nations rugby matches have a good profile on TV, while netball’s Superleague goes from strength to strength.
With sell-out crowds, the list goes on. Some sports have suffered such as badminton who couldn’t get the support required to get continued TV coverage but there have been great strides across so many disciplines.
Broadcast, written and online coverage is an important factor but much of the work is of course done on the training ground and also as coaches and managers work together to chart their future success.
What about in Sussex? Sussex cricket has a long-established tradition of producing good players.
Tina Cook is just one amazing Olympian who has performed at the top level.
Recently Brighton and Hove Albion celebrated a place in the top tier of English women’s football in 2018-19 and will become a full-time, professional club, after a successful licence application.
In the last month Lewes, pioneers on so many fronts, and Chichester City Ladies deserve huge credit for the FA Cup runs that were eventually ended by Merseyside opposition.
The crowds at the games were excellent and show the interest in the women’s game.
This week, my former colleague and ex Albion defender Adam Virgo opened a new academy in Steyning and I have no doubt numbers will swell very quickly. My niece I’m sure will be one of them!
When I walk around, wander outside the Amex, drive past the parks, it is heartening to see so many youngsters enjoying their sport. We are constantly reminded in a world of advancing technology to encourage our children to participate and enjoy but I also believe it is the younger generation that is also driving these sports forward.
As I know myself, not all our children are keen to play sport but sport is meant to be fun and we can all be involved in one way or another on or off the field. Amongst all the change on our planet, let’s hope it stays that way.