HOW can the Olympic Games truly be about peace, unity and fair play while the Games’ governing body leaves a giant ‘pending’ over a decision on allowing women to undertake one of the toughest athletic endurance events.
Olympian and Commonwealth Games race walker Claire Tallent has more than proven women deserve the chance to tackle a 50-kilometre event in her discipline.
A world championship qualifying time in San Diego this week, finishing second in a field of elite men, Tallent has again made clear her plea to walk the talk at the Olympics.
Track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, has recommended a women’s 50km be added to the program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The International Olympic Committee is yet to stamp its approval.
But men can do it.
There are those who argue not enough women are at an international standard to make an Olympic field.
The event was introduced to the IAAF world championships in London 2017 with seven contenders: four finishers, two outside the time limit and one disqualification. These women were still world championship athletes.
What makes enough of a field? Denied the chance we will never realise full potential in women’s sport – and this goes for all sports.
Questions of depth and ability clouded women’s football far too long. AFLW just needed that opening bounce between Carlton and Collingwood before a bumper Princes Park crowd, to kick things off in a defiant showcase of skill, tenacity and athleticism.
AFLW will celebrate its third season this weekend with two new teams, Geelong and North Melbourne-Tasmania, as football builds on developing talent and the booming demand coming through junior ranks.
Modifying rules to the women’s game muddied last season. Women have made clear they want the right to play by the same rules – but they will do so in their own fashion.
This is what makes women’s sport so exciting in traditionally male-dominated sporting fields.
Women can do is, as Tallent said after easily beating the four-hour, 30-minute qualifying standard for this year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha. The 37-year-old clocked 4:12:44.
Her husband, Ballarat’s Jared Tallent, has raced the distance at three Olympic Games. Jared Tallent was retrospectively awarded London 2012 gold and has twice captured silver.
Claire has coached Jared, trained with Jared, and yet is unable to race 50km like Jared.
American Erin Taylor-Talcott won the right to race against the men in a 50km IAAF event four years ago in what she said was a move for equality. She hoped other women would follow her lead.
It is incredible such a fight for Olympic equality is still playing out, 35 years after the women’s marathon was first added to the Games in Los Angeles.
Give women a chance and there will be plenty of females striving to follow in Claire Tallent’s footsteps. At its core, such inspiration is what the Olympics is about.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.