THESE are game-changing times for women’s sport. Not only will over 30,000 fans cheer on the England Lionesses when Phil Neville’s footballers take on Brazil at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium – but both sprint superstar Dina Asher-Smith and heptathlon heroine Katarina Johnson-Thompson have already struck gold at the World Athletics Championships.
The sadness is that so few people watched these great feats at the incongruous stadium in Doha – apathy which will inevitably translate into disappointing TV viewing figures that will have lessened the impact of the resilient Johnson-Thompson breaking the landmark British record which Sheffield’s very own Jessica Ennis-Hill set when triumphing at the 2012 London Olympics.
That golden success by Ennis-Hill became the catalyst for female competitors, and also teams, winning the respect, and recognition, which they had been denied for too long. It is also some legacy.