Did you know that just 36% of girls participated in some form of sport in 2002 as a member of a sports club (compared with 51% of boys).
Victoria Pendleton, one of the world’s leading female track cyclists, was today named as The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year for 2007, at a star-studded awards ceremony held in the Nursery Pavilion at Lord’s cricket ground in London.
In front of more than 300 people - which included Sarah Brown, the wife of the Prime Minister; Sir Keith Mills, MCC secretary and chief executive Keith Bradshaw; Nicola Sanders and Jeremy Guscott - Pendleton was honoured by our prestigious judging panel for her flawless performances at the UCI Track cycling World Championships in Mallorca earlier this year where she became a triple world champion. Currently training in Perth, Australia, she received her award from Olympic time trial champion Chris Hoy and spoke to the assembled audience via video: "I am really hoping 2008 will be a great year," she said. "It is fantastic to have won this award."
Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most celebrated oarswoman and winner of a fourth rowing world championship gold medal, was runner-up. In third place was Christine Ohuruogu, who dramatically won the 400m at the World Athletics Championships in August, barely a month after completing her one-year ban for missing three out-of competition drug tests.
Billie Jean King, one of the greatest ever female tennis players and winner of 39 grand-slam titles in 19 years, was presented with the Sony Ericsson Lifetime Achievement Award. Thirty-four years after her famous "Battles of the Sexes" victory over Bobby Riggs, which had a profound effect within society, King has remained a trailblazer in the sport, a lifelong dedication that was rewarded this year when the All England club finally gave equal prize money for women at the Wimbledon Championships.
This article can be read in full at the Sunday Times' Sports Women of the Year minisite which can be found at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/The_Sunday_Times_Sports_Women_o/
Coverage from the build up to the awards is also now available to view: