England success highlights women’s sport at Comm Games

England success highlights women’s sport at Comm Games

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — A week after the Lionesses became the pride of England for winning the European Women’s Championship, their field hockey compatriots are hoping for their own historic moment in Birmingham.

England have won a women’s hockey medal at the last six Commonwealth Games, but gold has proven elusive. A thrilling win over New Zealand in the semi-finals on Friday gave England another chance to end the drought. They will face Australia or India in Sunday’s final.

Their success is a bonus for Commonwealth officials who have focused on showcasing women’s sport, with priority given to three major team finals taking place on Sunday.

Labeled Super Sunday by the organizers, the gold medals of the women’s cricket, hockey and netball finals will all be decided on the penultimate day of the competition.

It comes a week after England beat Germany 2-1 at Wembley last Sunday in a football final which drew a crowd of 87,192, the biggest ever attendance for a Premier League decider. Europe for either sex.

Ticket sales for women’s sports in Birmingham were also strong.

Organizers reported that more than 160,000 tickets had been sold for cricket at Edgbaston Stadium alone, making it the biggest women’s drawing tournament in history.

England have a live medal chance in all three events and former netball captain Ama Agbeze hopes the string of success will attract more girls and women to the sport.

A member of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Council, Agbeze led England to a gold medal in Australia four years ago and is delighted with the focus on women’s sport throughout the 12-day competition .

“The Women’s Euro was an incredible competition and the Commonwealth Games just builds on that success and that atmosphere and just continues,” she said.

“It was a great forethought on the part of the Games organizers to have the Women’s Super Sunday with all these sports and it was great that the women’s football team won because they basically played in the whole narrative of the rising profile of women’s sports. Hopefully that increases from here.

The England hockey team did their part. With Maddie Hinch superbly tending the goal, the host edged defending champions New Zealand 2-0 in a penalty shootout at the University of Birmingham to reach the decider.

Both sides were held scoreless in regular play, but Hannah Martin managed to secure victory by scoring England’s second goal in the shoot-out after four attempts.

Hinch said she thrived under the pressure of goaltending and believes Sunday is an opportunity for her team to once again show young girls why field hockey is exciting to play and watch.

“It’s really important in those times to shop around. I was like, ‘Madds, that’s what you dreamed of when you were a young kid,’ and if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. didn’t work,” she told the BBC.

“Women’s sport is in a big place right now, but this is our chance to showcase the sport we love.”

England’s netballers take on Australia in the semi-finals on Saturday, and the country’s cricketers will face New Zealand for a place in the deciding match.

In other highlights from Friday, India enjoyed wrestling success as Deepak Punia, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik all won gold medals.

Malik, who won the women’s 62 kilogram category, said the support provided by the strong Indian community that lives in Birmingham has helped her succeed.

She edged Canadian Ana Godinez Gonzalez in the final.

“It was amazing to have a crowd like that,” she said. “At the Tokyo Olympics, there weren’t a lot of Indians… so for a wrestler, it’s amazing to have that presence.

“And then to be behind at one point and to come back, the crowd played a huge role in getting me where I wanted to be, which was right at the top of the podium.”

George Miller became the oldest Commonwealth Games gold medalist when, aged 75, he acted as director for visually impaired Scottish bowler Melanie Inness. His grandchildren watched from the stands as Miller helped the para-mixed bowls combination to a 16-9 win over Wales in the final.

“Boules are easy enough for older people, but any sport, (be it) walking, football, rugby etc, get out (and) exercise. Play games,” he said. “Competition is great, whatever your age.”

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