Breaking the Gender Mould: 5 Rising Stars

The world of sport can often be dominated by male achievement, but 2015 was year full of fantastic female accomplishments.

Breaking the Gender Mould: 5 Rising Stars

Sprinting headlines are nearly always focused on the super powers of Usain Bolt, fresh evidence of drug cheating and a little bit of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce thrown in for good measure. However, one sprinter making headlines for all the right reasons was 23 year old Dafne Schippers.
After becoming the first Dutch female to win a medal at a World Championships in 2013 as a heptathlete, Schippers switched her focus solely to sprinting, which has proven to be a very good decision.
She went into last summer’s World Championships as the reigning European 100m and 200m champion and was hoping not to get left behind in much stiffer competition. However, Schippers showed what explosive power and outstanding sprinting potential she has, finishing half a tenth of a second behind Fraser-Pryce to claim Silver in the 100m, before edging out Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson to win Gold in the 200m.
Although Schippers is no longer a surprise package, winning Olympic Gold this summer would still be unexpected. But from what she has shown in the last two years, that dream certainly isn’t unrealistic.

This summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup was a fantastic tournament. The quality on offer was of a very high standard, but it was the high attendances, neutral support and wonderful hospitality provided by host nation Canada, that will really make this tournament stand out.
On the pitch, the Canadian team reached the quarter-finals, before eventually being beaten by England, but 20 year old central defender Kadeisha Buchanan put in a number of stand-out performances.
The hosts progressed through to the quarter final, conceding only one goal in those four matches. Buchanan showed real athleticism and determination when defending, as well as great composure and technical skill when in possession.
These performances didn’t go unnoticed, Buchanan was awarded the Young Player of the Tournament award, she made it into the All Star Team of the Tournament and also picked up the Canadian Women’s Soccer Player of the Year in December.
She already provides Canada with a wonderful bedrock for coaches to build a team around. As she matures, she will get bigger, stronger and better. The future looks very bright for Kadeisha Bunchanan.

Team USA produced a stunning comeback on the final Sunday to win the Solheim Cup on European soil. In a tournament that will perhaps be remembered more for the final day controversy than golf itself, the performances of 20 year old Lexi Thompson will not be forgotten.
In just her second Solheim Cup appearance, Thompson displayed skill and composure beyond her years to remain unbeaten throughout the three day contest, winning two of her four matches, whilst securing crucial half points in the other two.
Thompson was chosen to lead the USA team out on singles day and although she didn’t win the match, she provided the team with much needed momentum and inspiration. With this experience under her belt, as well as two tour wins in 2015, expect Lexi to be a major player on the LPGA this year.

The game of poker can often be dominated by masculinity, testosterone and intimidation, but one competitor who has been breaking down these barriers is 27 year old Norwegian Annette Obrestad.
Obrestad began playing poker online at the age of 15 and it wasn’t long before she was competing for big prizes on some of the most prestigious online poker websites in the world.
The day before her 19th Birthday in 2007, Annette became the youngest player in history to win a World Series of Poker bracelet, when she overcame hundreds of competitors to win the inaugural European tournament and the one-million pound jackpot that comes with it.
Her natural talent for the game and feisty attitude, epitomized by this legendary outburst when filming an event in Cardiff, has made Obrestad one of the most successful and popular poker players around, as well as a shining example for any women looking to follow in her footsteps.

Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup last year, after her surprise victory on 100-1 shot Max Dynamite. However, this wasn’t the only monumental achievement for women in the world of horse racing.
20 year old British student and amateur rider, Lizzie Kelly became the first women to ever win a Grade 1 race. She rode brilliantly around a decent Kempton track on Boxing Day to land the Feltham Novice Chase aboard 9/4 second favorite Tea For Two.
In a very male-dominated environment, this was a huge victory and could prove pivotal, as we hope more trainers will take note of this and give more female jockeys a chance in the biggest races.

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