Girl power has lit up London

Published: 10 Aug 2012 12:000 comments

argues News reporter Shakila Barabhuiya

WHAT an incredible Olympic Games Great Britain's female athletes are having at London 2012.

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Lizzie Armistead kicked it off with Team GB's first medal of the in the road cycle race in what seems like a lifetime ago already.

More notably, it is the second Olympics in a row that a female cyclist has delivered GB's first medal, following Nicole Cooke's gold in Beijing four years ago.

Armistead's success seemed to snowball throughout the team from then on with some outstanding achievements from rowing and cycling to athletics and judo.

The rowing is a remarkable story. Great Britain had never won a gold medal and then before you know it the Caversham-based squad had three in four days- Heather Stanning and Helen Glover in the pair, Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins in the double sculls and perhaps most unlikely of all, Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking in the lightweight double sculls.

And what all three crews have in common is the ease in which they raced to victory. What a benchmark to set for future generations in their home Games.

Also setting down the gauntlet are the Reading and Slough players in the GB hockey team, who qualified for the semi-finals for the first time in 16 years.

Meanwhile, the cyclists have done the nation proud as Victoria Pendleton bows out with a gold and a silver while the young female trio of Laura Trott, Joanna Roswell and Dani King clocked their fifth successive world record to claim gold in the team pursuit final.

And of course the 'face of the Games' Jessica Ennis delighted the crowd with a sensational gold on what was quite possible the greatest night of British sport last Saturday.

Ennis literally had the expectations of a nation on her shoulders but she dealt with the pressure superbly and was the standout athlete across the seven heptathlon disciplines.

It is certainly a pivotal moment for female sport at an Olympics because every nation has sent a female representative to the Games. In addition, boxing has made its debut at the ExCel Arena to great acclaim.

So the country can certainly be proud of the performances of all GB athletes in what has been a memorable Games in more ways than one - especially for us women!

WOMEN inspired by the Olympic endeavours of top female athletes can sign up for free sporting taster sessions.

The Active Women project through Sport England aims to reduce the gender gap in sports participation.

Lil Roe, from Badminton England, which is working with Netball South locally on running sessions, said: "This project aims to get more ladies back into sport. We are working in partnership to set up taster sessions to come and have a try at hockey, netball, badminton and football with the hope that we get enough interest for the sessions to continue.

"These sessions are all coach led and offer a fun and friendly environment for ladies to come back to sport and keep fit. All beginners are welcome and sessions offer the chance to learn a new sport or get back into a sport they used to play at school."

Football and netball sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 14 and 21, while badminton and hockey will be on Wednesday, August 15 and 22. Sessions are from 7.30-8.30pm at Easthampstead Park Community School in Ringmead, Great Hollands.

There will also be 'Back to Hockey' sessions for women over 16 from 8-9.30pm on Wednesdays at Bracknell Hockey Club between Hornby Avenue and Jameston in Birch Hill.

Sessions are £4 each or £25 for eight weeks. They are being organised with the Hockey Nation Give it a Go programme - see www.hockeynation.info.

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