‘We want to show how far the women’s game has come’ – Simmons on FA Cup Final
The Football Association director of the Women’s Professional Game – Kelly Simmons - tells us 5 December was chosen as the date for this year’s women’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea as it marks the 100 anniversary of the governing body banning women’s football. Simmons describes that decision as probably the lowest point in the history of the game and says the FA are keen to be positive about the day and celebrate how far the women’s game has come in the years since. Simmons also discusses what needs to change in international football following a series of one sided Fifa World Cup Qualifiers – including England’s 20-0 win over Latvia this week.
Jamaica netball captain Jhaniele Fowler tells us how she didn’t let a serious heart condition she developed as a child, stop her pursuing a career in sport. Fowler has only just stopped taking medication for rheumatic heart disease. She also tells us how her playing schedule and the Covid-19 pandemic have combined to keep her and her daughter apart for the last two netball seasons. Fowler describes surprising her daughter by arriving home from overseas unannounced and how her dream is to have her on the podium with her at a Commonwealth Games or World Cup.
Fiona Brady, a Special Olympian who has represented Ireland in Basketball, Tenpin Bowling and Floorball, joins us to discuss the impact of not being able to play sport during the Covid-19 pandemic has had on her. This week saw International day of persons with disabilities take place and a new campaign called "Faces of Basketball" is aiming to give people with intellectual disabilities the confidence to return to sport.
In Sporting Witness, we return to 1961, when England’s top players threatened strike action in order to force the Football League to scrap its limit on wages of 20 pounds a week. Their victory was a turning point for the sport as it ushered in the modern era of football mega-salaries. The late England captain Jimmy Armfield, gives us his recollections of the period.
And – we’re live in Saudi Arabia with Jennie Gow ahead of the first ever Formula 1 race in the country, John Southall is at the London Stadium ahead of West Ham United v Chelsea in the Premier League and Jamie Broughton joins us with the latest from the UK Snooker Championship.
(Photo: FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal and Chelsea, London, 2021. Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Dean Du Plessis on the frightening impact of hearing loss
The world’s only blind cricket commentator - Dean du Plessis - tells us he is now losing his hearing and discusses the impact it is having on his life and career. Du Plessis says not being able to hear properly is more frightening to him than the sky dive he completed in 2007 and the journey he took on the back of a motorbike that was travelling around three hundred kilometres an hour. Du Plessis is Zimbabwe’s most recognised voice in cricket but says he may need to consider moving to a country were conditions are better for blind people. However, he is staying positive and he even sings a bit of his favourite band - Def Leppard - for us.
Thalea Smidt joins us in the week her team – Mamelodi Sundowns – completed an historic treble, including them winning the first ever Women's African Champions League. The midfielder tells us becoming champions of the continent is amazing and the reality of the achievement is still sinking in. She also believes the South African sides success could open the door for more girls and women to play football in Africa and discusses how some of her team-mates overcame the doubts of their own families to become footballers.
One of the world’s best netballers Lenize Potgieter speaks to Sportshour’s Maz Farookhi about her decision to temporarily make herself unavailable for selection for the South Africa national squad, after the team’s doctor diagnosed her with a major depressive disorder. Potgieter discuss her relief at her diagnosis and why she went public with her struggles.
In Sporting Witness, we go back to 2009 and remember when Zenyatta became the first – and only – mare to win the Breeders Cup Classic, one of the most prestigious horse races in America. Zenyatta was hugely popular with the public; she was as well-known for her dance moves in the paddock as she was for coming from behind to snatch victory at the last moment.
And on a busy day of sport, we discuss the Women’s Big Bash League final with Melinda Farrell, Tim Vickery looks ahead to the Copa Libertadores final, Jonathan Overend is at the Emirates ahead of Arsenal’s game against Newcastle United in the Premier League and Jamie Broughton brings us the latest from the UK Snooker Championship.
(Image: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Autumn leaves England in good shape
As rugby union's Autumn Internationals end we look at England women's success ahead of World Cup year in 2022 with the woman who lifted the trophy for England in 2014, Katy Daley-McClean MBE. We'll also hear from South Africa's World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi ahead of the men's clash with England.
Venus and Serena Williams, Phil and Gary Neville, Yaya and Kolo Toure. Have you ever noticed how many sporting siblings there are?! But are you born with it? Is it down to hard work? Or is it something completely different? Sportshour’s Rachael Rhodes has been finding out about new research into the area and hearing from MMA legend Ken Shamrock.
The Jamaican bobsleigh team that competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics, and had a movie made about them, have become the standard by which all unusual sporting endeavours are judged! Well despite the 2022 games in Beijing coming just a little too soon, the next chapter of unlikely sport combinations isn't too far away. Cool Slidings. It's time to meet Alistair Fyfe, originally from Scotland and the man behind the push to get Saudi Arabia to the top of the curling podium!
James Simpson, captain of the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby League team on why it's not all bad that the World Cup has been postponed by a year.
With men's football taking a break from domestic action to focus on qualification for the World Cup, many fans took the opportunity to go to a women's match, some for the first time. So what, if anything, is different between derby day in Manchester when it's the women and not the men in action? Katie Smith went along to find out.
Image: Autumn International match between England Red Roses and New Zealand at Sandy Park (Photo by Catherine Ivill - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)
Sport and the climate
Has has the past two weeks been a decisive moment for athlete climate activism? As COP26, the United Nations climate change conference, ends what impact has sport had on delivering for the future? Athletes, organisations and members of the sporting community have signed a manifesto calling on, amongst other things, net zero and to protect communities and natural habitats. We hear from English cricketer Joe Cooke, one of those who signed the manifesto. Plus Fiona Morgan is the Global Director of Purpose & Impact at SailGP, a championship that races all over the world but has added a sustainability aspect to the action, rewarding teams as much for their speed on the water as their impact on the environment. She told us about the role sport is playing at COP26 and what it's like to take part in one of the panel discussions at the summit.
It's been a busy month for Vivianne Miedema, banging in the goals for Arsenal, nominated for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year and alongside her partner, West Ham's Lisa Evans, joined the "Common Goal" movement. Created by Manchester United's Juan Mata, people donate 1% of their wages to support those in need all over the world. Viv and Lisa reveal a little bit about their life off the field and explain why they wanted to get involved.
As a star of the NFL Mark Pattison knew what it was like to hit the heights of professional sport. When, in retirement, that feeling disappeared Mark was left asking himself questions about much more than sport. It lead him on an extraordinary adventure that saw him conquer the seven highest peaks on earth.
We also hear from the recently retired international footballer, famed for saving a Leo Messi penalty at the World Cup finals and for being part of the Icelandic team who made it to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 by knocking out England. So what do you do if you're Hannes Thór Halldórsson and it's time to hang up the gloves? Go back to your original love... movies! Cop Secret is his first full-length film. The goalkeeper-turned-director explained all.
This time last year Germany's Andreas Seewald was an electrician but always sparked into life by sport... and eventually, he found the funding to give his first love, mountain biking, a go professionally. This time last month Andreas was crowned Mountain Bike World Champion, he explained how.
Image: Lasse Schöne of Genoa under a big banner concerning climate changes issues during a Serie A match (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)
Ice Hockey's sexual abuse scandal
The NHL, the professional ice hockey league in North America, has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse and failure to investigate them when they were first made. It revolves around a law suit a former Chicago Blackhawks player has brought against the team after he allege he was abused by one of the coaches. That player, Kyle Beach, spoke out publicly this week in an emotional interview with TSN journalist Rick Westhead. We hear part of that interview and from Rick on exposing sexual abuse in the NHL and the cover up.
As COP26 continues in Glasgow we look at what role sport can play in protecting the planet. And whilst Baseball's World Series crowned its champion this week, for Milwaukee Brewer’s pitcher Brent Suter the work on making the sport environmentally conscious continues. Proudly known as the "greenest man in baseball" he tells us about the challenges he's faced trying to change minds and habits of team mates and fans.
Seeing our favourite stars doing their bit does have an impact because as fans we love our teams! After all the word 'fan' is short for fanatic. We hear from one group harnessing that deep passion in order to help the environment. Planet Super League gives fans the chance to represent the clubs they support in a sustainability league, the inaugural champions have just been crowned, we hear from the leagues CEO Tom Gribbin.
(Photo: Former NHL player Kyle Beach Credit: Getty Images)