In today’s news: World Rugby announces a £2 million pledge, Chelsea reach the Champions League quarter finals, and Baroness Sue Campbell outlines Team GB’s hopes for Tokyo.
World Rugby pledges £2million to help teams prepare for the World Cup
After confirming the postponement of the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup last week, World Rugby has now pledged £2 million to help teams prepare for the rescheduled tournament next year.
The competition’s been postponed because of travel risks and uncertainty around teams’ preparation during the pandemic, but Rugby’s governing body has confirmed that they’ll be a focus on helping teams ahead of the rescheduled date, which is still to be decided.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "Our hearts go out to all the players, team personnel and fans who were preparing and looking forward to Rugby World Cup 2021.
"We recognise that they will be extremely disappointed, but I would like to assure them that the decision to postpone has been made entirely in the interests of their welfare, wellbeing and preparation and the desire to put on a showcase tournament that will super-charge women's rugby globally."
Chelsea reach Champions League quarter finals
A penalty by Maren Mjelde helped Chelsea to a 1-1 draw against Atlético Madrid and secured the Blues’ spot in the Champions League quarter finals.
Emma Hayes’ side were 2-0 up leading into this second leg but came under intense pressure from the Spanish side, who were forced to play the game in Monza, northern Italy, because of travel restrictions.
Having missed two penalties in the first leg, Atlético missed another today, as England international Toni Duggan struck the bar with 15 minutes to play.
Mjelde then converted a penalty for Chelsea to seal the tie, before Emelyne Laurent scored an injury-time consolation goal, which was just reward for Atlético’s strong second-half performance.
Baroness Sue Campbell says Team GB is going to Tokyo to win
The FA’s Director of Women’s Football, Sue Campbell, has outlined her aims for Team GB’s women’s football team ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
The FA has recently launched a new national strategy that aims to see the men’s and women’s sides winning a major tournament at some point in the next six years.
Campbell says that the intention for Tokyo is the same, but there'll be no specific targets for newly appointed head coach Hege Riise.
“Our aspiration is to go there and win,” Campbell told reporters. “But that doesn’t mean we’ll be pressuring Hege and all the staff...she is a winner, and she knows what it takes to win...so she doesn’t need pressure from me or anyone else.”
Team GB’s final 18-person squad for women’s football is set to be announced in May.
Dina Asher-Smith wants more exposure for female athletes
World 200-metre champion Dina Asher-Smith wants the sports industry to pay more attention to which athletes are elevated, so that young girls can learn to prioritise sporting success.
The British springer believes there’s too much focus on women worrying about aesthetics and doesn’t want girls to prioritise looks over their sporting dreams.
Writing on The Players Tribune, Asher-Smith said: "With men, it tends to be simpler. If you're the winner, you're the MVP. You get the trophy. You get the flowers. You get elevated.”
"They aren't going to use someone who only plays football recreationally just because he fits the image better. Someone who is more, in quotation marks, 'marketable' or 'aesthetically pleasing.'
"And yet, often that is still the case when you look up and see the female option in the ads, on the billboards, in the TV coverage.
She added: "If you're the GOAT, the world-record holder, the gold medallist, that's it. You deserve everything that comes with that. It's simple.”
HSBC Women’s World Championship set to return in April
Defending champion Sung Hyun Park and World number one Jin Young Ko have both confirmed their availability for the HSBC Women’s World Championship, which returns to Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore this April.
The tournament will feature many of the World’s top golfers, with a star-studded field featuring the likes of Inbee Park, major winner Danielle Kang, and five-time LPGA Tour winner, Minjee Lee.
With no professional women’s golf in the Asia-Pacific region for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event marks a welcome return for one of golf’s most prestigious events.
The tournament gets underway on 29th April and will run till the 2nd May.